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Divide and Rule

Most, if not all of us, have studied history as one of the subjects during our schooling years. Being Indians, it is obvious that at least one part of the syllabus was dedicated to our Freedom Struggle. That’s where more or less each one of us came across the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’, used by our erstwhile colonial masters to prevent us from uniting against them. Reservation seems to be the newest form of this ages old ploy to keep the masses divided.

The other day, while talking with a friend about this latest fiasco to grip the headlines recently, I realised it and felt it first hand. I had a moment’s hesitation before I said what I was about to say, lest he too belonged to a community that already had, or was demanding for reservation.

This is what reservation has done to us. It has made it difficult to even speak about it freely with people around us, lest we incite trouble or offend them. And what better way to prevent the masses from speaking against injustice, than to make one group the sufferer, while promising uplift another?

There is a new rebel in the news these days, literally a random face in the crowd, who has suddenly become a face of the crowd, going by the name of Hardik Patel. This gentleman is seeking reservation for a community called ‘Patidars’ or ‘Patels’. What is the most ironic and laughable aspect of the cause is that the said community happens to amongst the wealthiest, most accomplished business minded individuals known in India, are the owners of commercial and residential properties worth crores, are significant stakeholders of the diamond business of Surat and property business of Mumbai, and happen to be able section of the Indian diaspora abroad, with almost each and every family in Gujarat having an uncle, a brother or a distant cousin based in the US of A.

I am not a Gujarati by birth. I have lived in multiple places. But I consider Gujarat to be my second home, because I was educated there, was brought up there and mostly because of the immense amount of warm heartedness I felt when I was growing up in the state. That’s why, Mr. Patel, your ‘agitation’ boils my blood, and pisses me off to no end! You are threatening to set fire to the state once again, that for so many years has been known to be one of the most peaceful and developed states in India, and as a citizen of this nation and once a resident of the same state, I must say it disturbs me.

While on one side, where a majority of the community strives to fly away to distant lands and settle down there, this particular youth still feels that it’s not enough. Now he wants even more sops and free meals in a system that has destroyed the lives of deserving people, all in the name of ‘equal opportunities’. I’m sorry but the quota system is anything but equal. A system where a student with 90% marks loses out to another with just 50%, just because the former had the misfortune of being born in the house of general category parents, is anything but equality. It’s the reason why we as a nation will never come out of the ‘developing nation’ tag, even after a hundred years of independence.

This system is the cause of resentment for a large part of our youth population, and may be one of the reasons for the phenomenon called ‘brain drain’. If I don’t get ample opportunities because somebody less deserving than me took it away, simply by the virtue of being born in a supposedly backward class than mine, what stops me from looking elsewhere?

What if tomorrow, another frustrated youth from presently a general category, feeling that the system is unfair, demands for a quota? Soon a day will come when there will be only quotas and no general category left.

Coming back to my original point, the existence of the quota system, and the deep resentment that many of us have towards it is like an exposed nerve, that we all fear to press. As a common man, I can hardly speak about it in public, not knowing whether I am in the presence of a person who belongs to a so called backward class, unsure if I might offend him/ her. This is what the quota system has done us. Afraid to speak, afraid to object, lest we touch a nerve. We have stopped being Indians, and remain only as Hindus, Muslims, Patels, Jats, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and what not! Once again, we are being effectively controlled by the same old policy of ‘Divide and Rule’.

Wake up, free-loaders! In the quest for ‘upliftment’ for your kin, you are dragging the nation backwards…..