After Punjab, now its the Gujjar issue. The issue at hand is that the Gujjars want to be included federally in the Scheduled Tribe category. The fact that they are included in the OBC category doesn’t seem to be enough and the Scheduled Tribe recognition has become a cause for which 20 people have died in violence that has led to loss of public property and the blocking of a main highway in India – the Delhi Jaipur highway.

Today I was reading that the Meena community (which already has been classified as ST) – has decided to launch its own agitation to prevent the Gujjar community from getting ST status.

And hence lies the problem with caste based reservation. This is a self inflicted issue really – brought on by uneducated, unscrupulous politicians whose sole motivations from perpetuating, indeed exacerbating the caste issue and the reservations were to buy banks of votes.

In a society where being from a caste in itself can circumvent merit for coveted jobs, educational institutions and other state-sponsored benefits – such unrest is only natural. And our politicians have a vested interest to exploit this divisiveness for their short-sighted political mileage.

We are already seeing the usual farce in Indian politics. Congress has started blaming the BJP government in Rajasthan and a few MLAs have “offered” to resign.

And this will go on. Politicians on both sides of the issue will “clash”. Some will send in their resignation. Some will go on hunger strike. Congress and BJP will both claim to have the best interest of all parties afflicted.

All at the same time without having a serious policy debate on how to really improve the lot of economically and socially oppressed people. Without any strategic, long term initiatives.

All while people get killed and public property destroyed for an issue that all leadership on all sides have an interest to keep alive.

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