Vishwa Hindu Parishad chief, Togadia, belongs to the powerful Patel community and has a strained relationship with PM Modi. He is also reportedly close to Hardik and his band of protestors, and recently held the Modi Government responsible for the mess Gujarat finds itself in.
The 22-year-old nominal head of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti is now doing jail time, too. His maiden foray, though, lasted only three hours!
The Patels, of whom I knew very little till I did my first Patel Tour, are demanding reservation for the already well-off community in Gujarat. Their leader, Hardik Patel, was picked up by the cops on Saturday evening for preparing to launch ‘Ekta Yatra’ to Ahmedabad, despite prohibitory orders. He was released within hours, possibly because the police was not equipped to tackle the Patel mob that would have erupted beyond control had they not let Hardik go.
The State Government didn’t do too well, either. In an effort to contain the agitation, it went overboard and banned the internet on mobile phones for 24 hours. Even if the State was within its right, the decision was ill-conceived and disproportionate. Before panicking, the Government should have realised that the internet is used not just for propagating the cause of the Patels, it is also, and mostly, used by normal, law-abiding citizens, who have nothing to do with the spectacle. But we can still cut them some slack.
With hundreds of thousands of Patels threatening to bring Gujarat down, what other recourse was available?
Meanwhile, he is known to be very close to Praveen Togadia, the fiery VHP man. Togadia’s relationship with PM Modi and chief minister Anandiben is strained, and it’s not a secret. Hardik has been bashing the BJP Government, both in State and Center. Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar supporting Patel is a no-brainer: Anyone opposed to the BJP is their friend! Politics is definitely the dirtiest game ever played.
The reservation-seeking Patels are fighting for their right to be ‘backward’. They want to be looked down upon, to be pitied, and spoon-fed. Ironically, most of them arrive at rallies in fancy cars, wearing gold chains and expensive clothes.
According to the US motel industry, there are about 22,000 hotels and motels in the United States owned by Indians, valued at a whopping $128 billion. Over 70% are owned by Gujaratis, and three-quarters of those are Patels. This is a very rich community. Yes, not all Patels are swimming in money, but that is the case with every other community.
It’s an absurd demand. The Patels have enjoyed affluence and modernity for over 150 years! Every family, especially in central Gujarat, where Patels thrive, has at least one member in foreign countries, the US and the UK in particular.
Hardik Patel, if not contained and tamed, could destroy everything Gujarat is known for. One of them is a healthy, peaceful business environment. If the agitation continues to paralyse Gujarat, it will adversely affect the business sentiment and send wrong signals to global investors.
A below-average student from a middle-class family is trying to turn Patels into parasites. This is such a primitive approach.
Instead of doling out favours to the community, instead of reserving seats for them, why not make them capable of competing with the so-called forward castes? We are all born the same, but we don’t live and die the same. Somewhere in the process of life, we get divided into the haves and the haves not. A child from a backward community, living within minimal means, has no chance in hell because he has limited prospect.
Give them the playing field and see if they need the quota. If they are educated and given access to every opportunity life has to offer, they will thrive, too.
By giving them readymade jobs and admissions, we are crippling their ability to shine on their own. We are telling them that they do not need to work hard for a living, they will have a job, anyway. Obviously, such practices restrict social growth, and puts lives in danger.
A large number of people from the backward castes are accommodated in the medical field. Would you like an unqualified doctor, who became one on the basis of his caste, cut you open for a surgery?