Why are the Patidar Protests amidst a storm of hype?
Known to be among the ‘largely wealthy community’ or the ‘better-offs’, the Patidars aka the Patel community is the mainspring of India’s economy. Claimed to be the descendants of Luv and Kush, they are rather well placed in the caste hierarchy and have a better landholding than the so called lower castes.
The same community that once agitated against the caste based reservations for Dalits, Adivasis and so on and so forth is now demanding to be placed among them. Their agitations are on a hike since their demand of being the 147th backward community and 27% reservation was abandoned by Anandiben Patel, the chief minister of Gujarat.
The Current State of the Protests
Hardik Patel’s speech, what we would actually term as the beginning of this phenomenon has certainly led to degradation of Peace and Prosperity in Gujarat. Numerous rallies over a period of two months aren’t coming to a halt, as the community now believes that without a share in the reservation quota, their youth will be deprived of education and job opportunities unlike the one’s that have.
Who exactly is Hardik Patel?
Had this question been asked a few months ago, hardly anyone would have known! But now, this 23-year old figure, the holder of the leadership of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, an offshoot of Sardar Patel Sevadal has led such mammoth rallies in such a short period of time displaying how powerful as a leader he can be. The so called ‘face of the protest’ cannot be underrated on how his abilities as a leader may lead to more agitated future attempts to gain a part of the reservation for his community.
Outcomes of the Protests so far
After looking at Gujarat’s current state, this mass protest cannot be counted amongst any other mediocre protests in the state so far! With curfew imposed in the state, 6 people declared dead, this protest seems to have a deep-rooted purpose, which, if not fulfilled, may lead to bitter circumstances.
The Patels, constituting an influential portion of the Indian economy, do not seem to have a valid stand in their demands for reservation. Although some people in their community hailing from the rural areas may not be financially stable, these protests do not seem legitimate. Well, the story still needs to unfold, as to what exactly is their agenda! There still lies a possibility of a hidden motive in these protests, which may reveal a political agenda behind the reservation demands![Image Attribute: Jey Hwang]