Caste, Personal Egos And Reservation: The Lessons From Haryana Protests

Jat Agitation Creative

Now that the embers have cooled down and ashes have faded in the atmosphere, Haryana is coming back to normalcy after the carnage and arson created by Jats in past ten days.

Chief Minister Manohar lal Khattar gave a visit to Rohtak, the epicentre of the agitation, to pacify the community. However, he was heckled by the local population for failing to secure their property. It is true that the sole person responsible for this mayhem is the Chief Minister who did not have the foresight to understand that the situation can lead to such proportions.

Politically speaking, it was the inability of the BJP government to give due representation to the community who always had a Jat chief minister in the past; from Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Indian National Congress to Om Prakash Chautala of Indian National Lok Dal. The Jats, it seems, could not swallow the fact that a person from different caste had taken over the corridors of power which was their forte till now.

Further, in the ruckus of agitation, Jats targeted the non-jats of the state. To a certain extent, the whole reservation arrangement has created an in-build frustration in the social system. The caste system was a complimentary system based on Jamani relations before British stimulated industrialisation in the country. The industrialisation jobs were secured based on one’s ability rather than birth in a certain caste. As a result, castes started competing with each other. The reservation system tends to create distortions in this competition as it perpetuates the old hierarchy.

In Haryana also, Jats have targeted other castes like Sainis (they have reservation under the OBC category) whom the former see as responsible for their inability to get the coveted government jobs. Jats are unable to digest a reality where a person from lower caste has now become their collector, Zila Parishad or a minister. It is the ego that has manifested in form of riot and carnage we have seen in these past ten days. Moreover, this is a case not just with Jats but also with other communities like Gujjars as well as Kapus.


Economically speaking, castes like Jats have farming as their main livelihood. However, agriculture in India is no longer seen as a viable option to build your career. Thanks to social media, the youth of the Jat community have seen their aspirations soar but unmet. Farming does not hold promises for these aspirations of the youth. This creates frustration which transforms into violent mob mentality- something we have come to understand better in the last few weeks.

In 1991, we saw protests against the reservation system for the first time. We feel that the time has come to reconsider whether this system is needed for our country and its citizens.

We need to reconsider whether it has really created equality in the society for which it was designed in the first place or is it leading to distrust and suspicion in the society.


TVP Team

Image source:

The Viewspaper