The recent agitation by the Patel community led by Hardik Patel is another example of never-ending demands for reservation. The mass protest, organized and well-funded, across Gujarat is nothing short of a display of power and a threat to the law and order of the state. It has resulted in the loss of life of approximately nine people and the toll is expected to rise as this agitation is not going to stop any time soon.
The leader of this movement, Hardik, who was just another person until a few days ago, has today grabbed the eyes of whole the nation. Hardik belongs to a middle-class Patidar family from Viramgam, near Ahmedabad. He is a B.com Graduate from a very less known college who merely managed to score an aggregate of 50 percent and helps his father run a small submersible-pumps business. But today this man is demanding the inclusion of Patel community in the OBC status claiming that most of the members of this community hail from backward backgrounds, a claim that has no standing considering that most of the well doing Gujaratis belong to the Patel community and even the current Chief Minister of Gujarat, Anandiben, is herself a Patel.
Reservation was introduced to make up for the millennia of injustice to certain segments of the society and to bring them into the mainstream. It was introduced by the V.P. Singh government on the recommendation of the Mandal Commission and undoubtedly was a need of that hour because otherwise the backward sections of the society would have been wearing the tag of untouchables even in today’s time. But, considering that times have changed and so has the social structure, the government is still stuck in the past, at least as far as bringing any amendment in this law is concerned.
Today, reservation is being misused while the real motive behind its introduction remains unfulfilled. The caste of the person is no longer a reflection of his backwardness. As a result of it, even those people who come from well-off families are able to take the benefit of reservation and at the same time, candidates who really deserve to get reservation are denied this right.
The agitation, currently being witnessed across the country is an alarm for the government to wake up. It is high time that instead of searching for political mileage, the government should do away with caste-based reservation and introduce a new yardstick to measure backwardness, so that people who truly belong to the weaker sections of the society could get the real benefit of reservation.