The Patel or Patidar community is at a boil in Gujarat, demanding a fair reservation for their community in government jobs. The protest is headed by Hardik Patel – a 22 years old man from a small village near Ahmedabad.
The protest focuses on getting Patel community into the OBC category, so they can crack into Gujarat reservation policy. The protest started with a mass rally on 17th August became worse in past couple of days, where Hardik Patel was taken into police custody for conducting a rally without prior permission, eventually state capital Ahmadabad had to undergo curfew for more than 48 hours, as agitated Patel reacted to the young leaders arrest. In the violence a cop lost his life and day to day life of locals was affected.
In the series of events held under the Patel/Patidar community protest, hundreds and thousands of vehicles and public transport buses were set on fire by the supports. The chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben, and PM Modi have requested people to maintain peace and avoid violence.
The reservation call has turned out be the most tragic situation in Gujarat, since after the 2002 Godhra riots. The Patel communities all over India are also supporting the demand of reservation, by sending memorandum in name of Anandiben.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, well aware of the situation in Gujarat, released a peace statement on Wednesday. The message was delivered in ‘Gujarati’ local language of the state. This message read that “no one will be benefited with the violence, my fellow natives please maintain peace, law and order within state”.
Considering the fact that Patel community in Gujarat is mainly involved in to business activities. The total population constitutes more than 70%. The community is originally a rich and belongs to upper crust.
Who is Hardik Patel?
Hardik Patel a 22 years old man from Viramgam village near Ahmedabad, is a professional who works with his father, running a business of submersible pumps. He is Convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). He believes that a Patidar student securing 90% marks fails to get admission in MBBS, while a ST/SC or OBC get it after securing 45% marks. In just two months the harmless Hardik Patel, has become a threat to the state and the voice of Patel/Patidar youth.
The story is not confined to Gujarat, it is a similar to the Gujjar Andolan in Rajasthan couple of times in a decade affecting day to day life of citizens, not only of the state but also of the other states. Reservation in India has a very long history, footmarks of which could be seen coming even before independence. It was introduced in year 1882, comprising a large area of Presidency and Princely states in South of Vindhyas, favoring the Backward Classes (BCs). However during that time it was implemented without any protest or violence.
A century later, reservation has taken an ugly face across India. It began with the protest held against Communal Award of Britain’s Prime Minister, which was settled with a single Hindu electoral having reserved seats for Dalits. It was known as Poona Pact.
After Independence major changes in reservation came in favor of STs, SCs and OBCs. Prominent among them occurred with establishment of Mandal Commission in 1979. The Commission was established to assess the socially and educationally backward classes, classifying 1257 communities as backward. The commission was not having exact figures of sub-castes, known as Other Backward Class (OBC), based on census of 1930. As of 2006 backward class list has touched 2297 in numbers , which is nearly double.
The question which still stands unanswered is that; Are these reservations of any good to the society as a whole? Why not a community protest for better and quality education for their society? The reservation agenda is fairly manipulated for personal benefits with political agendas aimed to attract voters. The one who is bearing a great loss is the Indian society.