Archive for the ‘caste violence’ Category

“Reservation can’t divide an already divided society”

Saturday, June 9th, 2007
“Our [gujjar and meena - RA] culture is the same, our status in the villages is the same, we live side by side, share the same well and smoke hookah together. Why then do they get the jobs and scholarships but we don’t?”Bainsla says this is because the Meenas were given st status in 1954. “Reservations provide a sort of guarantee,” he says. “Give that guarantee to everybody or nobody.”

 (as seen in Tehelka | link)

The Gurjars and the Meenas seem to have been living most harmoniously before the “socially just” policy of reservation was implemented.

And yet, its supporters will have us believe that reservation does NOT divide society.

Another curious fact - all the great votaries of reservation, starting and moving downwards from Arjun Singh, seem to have lost the ability to communicate ever since the Gujjar agitation for ST status came to the fore.

What is the way out of this reservation imbroglio ?

United Students proposes a multiple-index related, point based scheme of affirmative action that will analyize people as citizens of India rather than just as belonging to x or y caste. We believe that caste continues to be important in the Indian social scheme, but economic conditions, gender, regional and educational imbalances are also important factors of exclusion operating in society.

Any effective affirmative action scheme ought to holistically address these various factors rather than just the factor of caste, which only reinforces caste divides in society [as proved by the Gujjar - Meena clashes].
(Read more)

Unity of the undercastes

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

They tell us that 85% of India’s population is “deprived”. Who constitute this magical figure of 85% ? According to them it is the STs, the SCs, the OBCs and the religious minorities.[by all estimates these groups DO NOT in fact make up 85% of the population, but facts are flexible and can be mutilated at will].  They are all deprived. Shah Rukh Khan is deprived. Daler Mahendi [a mirasi, who are considered SCs in punjab] is deprived. Laloo Yadav is deprived. 

The great theory of the century is that these deprived Indians will together rise up to throw off the yoke of “brahminism”How will this new type of revolution come about? Like this 

Or maybe like in Khairlanji, where the victims were dalits and the perpetrators OBCs, whom the news media promptly recast as “upper caste hindus”.

The gurjars are OBCs in rajasthan, so they are a deprived class but their relative deprivation is less than that of the Meenas, who are a ST community. The gurjars are now trying very hard to become more deprived than they’ve hitherto been and gain ST status, by hook or by crook.

In these days of “reservation politics” it pays to organize oneself on caste lines, extend age-old biases, promote superstitions and criminal activities [since the Mandal criterion rewards groups indulging in child marriage with the carrot of reservations], form squads of militant youths and pressurise the government to accept one’s demands.

The Meenas, who’ve cornered almost all the benefits of ST reservation over the last sixty years, are obviously unhappy at the prospect of yielding even an inch from what they consider to be their domain. So we witness caste riots [for the first time in many years in north India] between two organized and apparently militant communities both of which claim to be greatly deprived. Sometimes I wonder how a group which has political clout and money and muscle power and owns land, can be considered deprived?

The government says it will unravel the mystery. The district collectors will collate data indicating deprivation and if the gujjars are truly deprived, then they will get ST status. The Gujjars are quick to reject any such delaying tactics. They point out that the government did not feel the need to undertake any such studies when promising OBC reservations last year. The logic cannot be faulted.  

Welcome to India of the 21st century. Where it is fashionable to talk about caste. And more so if you belong to one of the deprived sections indicated at the beginning of this post. If you belong to the “other 15%”, then be ready to quickly admit the crimes your ancestors have committed for centuries. Feel a lot of guilt. Once they’ve made you feel guilty, they’ve got you and can make you accept almost any demands, no matter how blatantly these fly in the face of logic.

Welcome to India of the 21st century. Where caste = race [no matter that Ambedkar dismissed the suggestion of casteism being a form of racism with utmost contempt]. Where merit = a mythical construct. Where everything must be couched in terms of caste, and where to talk about being a citizen of India is an almost ridiculous proposition [ of course, to talk like a citizen of the world is considered to be leftist romanticisim of a bygone era]. Where there is renewed focus on evaluating individuals on the basis of their birth, rather than each person being seen as an assimilation of several identities. Where your identity is  taken as confirmation of your views [for instance, the widely popular misconception that all OBCs support reservations] Where the focus is not on production of ideas or of money, but on distribution of wealth and powers based on political clout and patronage.

This is the coming of age of the world’s largest democracy.

And they say reservations don’t divide society

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Gurjars on Warpath, 16 Killed

At least 16 people were killed and over a hundred injured when the police opened fire in two districts of Rajasthan on Tuesday to disperse violent mobs of Gurjars demanding their community’s inclusion in the list of scheduled tribes (ST). The army was deployed in Dausa, Bundi and some other places to restore order.

Nine people, including two policemen, were killed near Patoli in Dausa on the Jaipur-Agra national highway; seven deaths were reported from Bundi, about 250 km from Jaipur.

State home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said, “Six civilians and two policemen died in Dausa. The identity of one more person, whose body is not being released by the protesters, is not known. Six villagers and one policemen died in Bundi. There is no information about the four policemen who were abducted by the crowd.”  

In response to a call given by the Gurjar Sangharsh Samiti to block highways, thousands of Gurjars broke prohibitory orders in Jaipur, Dausa, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur, Karauli and Bundi districts and clashed with the police. The Gurjars, currently part of the other backward classes, have been demanding their inclusion in the ST list for several years.

In Dausa, 70 km from Jaipur, several thousand Gurjars blocked the Jaipur-Agra highway. The police fired tear-gas shells when the mob surrounded them and started throwing stones. Unable to check them, the police opened fire, killing six people on the spot. Several others were injured. Kataria said, “The police had to open fire after the agitated crowd became violent and started dragging away policemen.”

The protesters then burnt down every police picket in sight. Several entered the nearby Sikandara police station and set it on fire, killing two constables.

Outnumbered, the policemen ran for cover but many could not escape. Kataria said, “The crowd hacked the limbs of unarmed constables.”

After chasing the police away, the protesters placed the bodies on the road. Ambulances and police vehicles rushing the injured to hospitals in Dausa and Jaipur were attacked and not allowed to pass. In Bundi, thousands of Gurjars gathered at the Dev Narayan Temple on the Kota-Jaipur highway and later pelted the police with stones from the surrounding hills. Six people died after the police opened fire to control the mob. Kataria said, “One constable was killed by the crowd and another is in a serious condition.”

Sources said the protesters abducted four policemen and took them inside the temple. Kataria said over 300 persons were arrested across Rajasthan in connection with the violence.

Sachin Pilot, the MP from Dausa, likened the police action to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Demanding the Vasundhara Raje government’s resignation, Pilot said he would go to Delhi on Wednesday to seek central intervention and the imposition of President’s rule.

In Delhi, the Centre decided to send over 2,000 paramilitary force personnel to the trouble-torn districts to assist the police in restoring peace.

(Source: Hindustan Times  | link)