In Clouds Of Smoke, Haryana Boils Up Again

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Jat unrest

The Jat community of Haryana is once again demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. This comes after Supreme Court had invalidated their reservation in the central list of Other Backwards Classes in March 2015.

The politically heavyweight community of Haryana is now demanding quota at the state level. The government of Haryana has offered inclusion of the community in the Economically Backward Persons (EBP) with increase in quota under the category from 10 to 20%.

This has been rejected by Hawa Singh Sangwan, a prominent leader of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti. The protests have turned violent with section 144 of CRPC being imposed in the City of Rohtak on Thursday evening.

Today, one person was reported dead and nine injured after agitators tried to attack the house of Haryana government minister Captain Abhimanyu in Chandigarh. Further, mobile phone services were stopped in cities of Rohtak, Jhajjhar, Panipat and Sonipat today morning. As of now, although the phone services have been restored, SMS and internet services are still barred.

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The national president of the Samiti, Yasphpal Malik said, “The agitation will be taken to every state. From tomorrow, protests will also begin in Faridabad, Palwal and Karnal.”

Jats are a powerful community of the Haryana’s hinterland. They own large tracts of land and dominate the panchayats in the villages. Everyone knows about the infamous khap panchayats. As per the Varna system of the Indian scriptures, they are an upper caste under the Kshatriya Varna. In any case, they are not socially or economically backward. This has been recognized by the National Commission of Backward Classes when it rejected the claim of Jats for reservation in 2014.

The question is- why do such communities demand reservation?

Is it because reservation allows an easy way to rise further in the social hierarchy and is a substitute for dedicated hard work?

Recently, a similarly powerful community of Andhra Pradesh, the Kapu’s had burned a train as well as a bus to demand quota. Moreover, Patels coming out in their luxury cars to agitate for reservation is still afresh in our memories.

I feel that the reservation system should be gradually done away with. Reservation brings in complacency and is against meritocracy. Since independence the benefit of reservation has gone only to a select few in various categories. There have been no exclusions in the list of people getting reservation even if they have risen in the socio-economic hierarchy.

Giving reservation to more castes and communities is the easy way out. The need of the hour is to provide quality education which has the same standard in urban and rural areas. A skill training program to make the backward sections capable is must. However, this requires effort, professionalism and hard work by the bureaucracy; which we hardly see.

The late Prime Minister of Singapore and a renowned statesman, Lee kuan Yew, had once said in an interview that if India needs to progress, it needs to do away with this reservation system.

My request to the political leaders is to have a reality check on the quota system. Analyse which communities have actually benefitted and don’t require reservation anymore. In the long run, do away with this system and allow talent to rise up without handicaps.

Nishant Kumar

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