Archive | June 3, 2008

Seed of Discord

Just now one of my colleagues called me to ask for a favour. Her relatives had gone to Ajmer Sharif and are now stranded there. She wanted to know from Internet about bus journey details from Ajmer to Ahmedabad. How distraught rest of the family must be feeling. For most of us its like “None of my near & dear ones are there. So it doesn’t matter”. Not only her relatives but around 50,000 people have been stranded as more than 50 trains have been canceled due to Gujjar women who have blocked the rail routes. Earlier, the men had damaged railway tracks. In fact it has been estimated that India’s corporate sector has lost some $1.25 billion since May 23 and Indian railways suffered a loss of Rs.29.6 million ($696,659) on May 29 alone because of delays and cancellations of trains. Read this here and here. All this because the Gujjars want to be re-classified as a ‘Scheduled Tribe,’ to qualify for jobs and university places reserved for disadvantaged groups.


Do these people ever think of the sick persons, pregnant women, examination/interview candidates, small kids, the elderly or poor people who are stranded due to cancellation of trains? As if terrorists weren’t a big enough problem for all; that now we have Indians causing problems for Indians. We have become so selfish in our demands and so greedy that we ignore everyone else’s inconvenience. Like these Gujjar protests, political strikes in Kolkata etc etc. Satyagraha or rather Gandhigiri is just a celluloid dream. Now the attitude is “If I want something I’ll snatch it by hook or crook”…rather only crook i.e. violence and riots.
My point is that Indian leaders who laid the foundation of a new country 60 years ago just sowed the biggest seed of discord by defining different castes and tribes and making provisions in the Constitution for them; by giving the word “reservation” a whole new meaning; by creating a divider bigger than the Partition. We are just reaping what they sowed. It was supposed to benefit the rural and backward classes who are poor to get education and job. But in reality? A friend of mine who is a Bachelor of Engineering, has own house, very good monthly income and is counted as upper middle class; gets job in public sector using “quota” allotted to his caste. And a kid in a village is still illiterate and a farmer or weaver. So Mr.Leader’s soul, it hasn’t quite turned out the way it should have been, right? Now what do we do?
As for these Gujjars, they want a re-classification!!! I want one too. From being “General” or “No Category”; I want to become “Categorized”. I want to be given preferential treatment everywhere. I want my son/daughter to not do hardwork in studying and to get admission in finest colleges/schools just on basis of caste and to get a job just as easily.
As for these Gujjar women, have they stood up in protest against the rampant use of infanticide against the girl child in their caste? Have they ever raised their voice against abusive husbands or other malpractices against women? Have they protested against the falling sex ratio, unavailability of brides and the resulting polyandry in their caste? Then why now? Out of greed? Even if they are “re-classified” do they assure that they will send their daughters to school too and give them equal opportunity as their sons?

I just pray that may all the people stranded reach their destinations safe and sound. And…

रघुपित राघव राजाराम , पतित पावन सीताराम
सीताराम सीताराम, भज प्यारे तू सीताराम
ईश्वर अल्लाह तेरो नाम, सब को सन्मित दे भगवान

Translation:
Lord Rama, Chief of the house of Raghu,
Uplifters of those who have fallen,
(O divine couple) Sita and Rama,
Beloved, praise Sita and Rama,
God or Allah is your name,
Lord, bless everyone with wisdom.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are entirely mine and I have no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings. Neither do I support nor I oppose anyone.
All images credited to NDTV.