The total loss due to anarchic violence in the State of Haryana may cross Rs 50,000 crore. More than two dozen people have lost their lives. The divisions of caste animosity are aggregating in the State where once 36 caste groups were happily living together. Socio-economic aspects of the problem can be considered, but political conspiracy is equally important in the series of events. It will take some time for Haryana to overcome the wounds of factionalised social life
Haryana was out in search of the missing Saraswati. It was claimed that Haryana had been the land of the Rig Veda, of the 16 Puranas and the Gita. The people of Haryana claim that they are descendants of Harshavardhan, Banabhatta, Surdas, Sahajo Bai and Balmukund Gupt. With the change in time they have progressed a lot in the field of technology and science.
But, in just ten days, the same land washed off its halo. Chaos in the name of reservation, flared as high as if the entire sociology, cultural heritage, administration system, and everything else had gone out of sync. Now, the layers are unravelling, gradually. While broaching new resolutions, new goals and new achievements in the year of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the State, suddenly the fertile soil of the State began to tremble and collapse. Gulliver suddenly began to act like a Lilliputian.
Scratches emerged in the social scene of Haryana, in the second and third week of February. What is troublesome and worrisome is that these scratches are being deepened. This entire episode has three dimensions, which need seperate assessment.
The first dimension is that of the movement. The ASSOCHAM survey upto the last Sunday of this era of chaotic violence shows the loss of nearly Rs 20,000 crore. According to the PHD Chamber of commerce, the worth of damage has already crossed the figure of Rs 36,000 crore. The estimates of damaged shops, damage to houses destroyed in arson is not included in these two figures. An accurate estimate of the damage to the roads, bridges, rail lines and buses is yet to be done. Total damage is apprehended to cross the figure of Rs 50,000 crore. Added to this is about two dozen people, died in violence and its reprisal. About 200 people got injured. Of course, the legal aspects of the cases registered are still to be fixed. Determination of actual damage will take at least two months. Obviously, a long spell is needed for Haryana to revive. Issues will not be limited just to financial damages and compensations. Who will work to fill the cracks, laid between Jats and non-Jats? Currently, there is no such towering personality, who could restore camaraderie that has been destroyed.
The other dimension is of the usefulness and appropriateness of this movement. It is necessary to view the State’s political landscape. Since the establishment of the State in 1966, ten leaders have been chief ministers of the State. Seven of these leaders were from the Jat Community, while two out of the only three non-Jat chief ministers – Shri Bhagwat Dayal Sharma and second non-Jat chief minister Rao Birendra Singh could not complete their full terms in office. BJP had the opportunity to form a government on its own and third non-Jat Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal Khattar took over.
As a politician, this is the first innings of Shri Manohar Lal and it is also the fact that, initially, there were five contenders for the post, including three from the Jat Community. But all the five contenders were pushed to the sides and BJP gambled on a new face. Maybe that was intended that the leaders busy in leg pulling will be inspired to follow the path of development. It is also an interesting fact that in both the major Opposition parties—the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal – the top is dominated by the Jat Community.
As far as the reservation is concerned, it is also a fact that even though its main focus might have been on the overall development of socio-economic sense, but it did not happen in practice. It was as used as a ‘lollipop’ in the country. The target of every government has been to use this 'lollipop' to grab a ‘vote bank’. Howsoever odd it may sound, but often in reality the governments were not sincere for the reservations.
Just see the case of Jats. 27 to 29 per cent of the State population consists of Jats. In the 2014 general elections though the BJP was able to win seven seats i.e. Ambala (Reserved), Kurukshetra, Karnal, Sonepat, Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, Gurgaon and Faridabad ; but according to a study of the LokNiti-CSDS, BJP has been able to get only 19 per cent Jat votes in the election. INLD, which was the first choice of the majority of Jats, won Sirsa and Hisar constituency seats, while the Congress, winning only the Rohtak seat, came second in getting Jat votes.
Although the BJP won 47 seats out of the 90 constituencies but 40 per cent of the Jat voters considered INLD as their first choice. Even in Assembly elections, only 17 per cent of Jat voters preferred the BJP. Obviously, the mass base of the BJP remained among the high castes and the non-Jat classes and in these circumstances; BJP high command preferred a non-Jat newcomer.
The majority of Jat voters regret the fact that power, which had been in Jat hands for a long time, was now handed over to a man who was not only a non-Jat but was also related to the Punjabi Community. Compunction within the Jat Community began to emerge in this new equation. In these new equations, a section of Jats began to mobilise against three new Jat faces of the BJP, who were emerging as the new Jat leaders. This section tried to mobilise Jats, while raising the issue of reservation to Jats, and also started to push hard to marginalise these new emerging BJP Jat faces. In this two way battle, a section of activists turned anarchic. Those who were targeted, were either non-Jats, Punjabis, Vaishya and Sainis, or were the brand new emerging Jat faces of the BJP. The element of issue of reservation for Jats was present in the movement, but also very intense in the background was the frustration of not being in power. The chaos took over in the absence of a well thought plan and within two to three days the movement got out of control from the hands of the Jat Aarakshan Sanghrash Samiti. Although Bhupendra Singh Hooda led Congress had promised reservation for Jats in the 2004 elections, but a formal announcement to this effect was done a day before the end of his second tenure. The draft of the aforesaid declaration also was so novitiate that the Supreme Court canceled it. The BJP too had announced similar resolution to this effect 16 months ago in its election manifesto, but there was no substantialprogress in this direction.
Conclusively, the entire episode of Haryana was more a political conspiracy than an issue-based movement. Even then it cannot be completely as it has economic and social aspects too. The Jats are mostly farmers. The size of farm is no longer as big as it use to be. Neither farming remains a profitable profession. They are cheated in the name of Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Interestingly, the proponents of SEZs were also the Jat leaders, who were in power then.
Even though Haryana has large number of community-run educational institutions, along with Gurukuls and technological institutions, the culture of education is not percolated among the youth. They did not show much interest in the small industries or the business houses. Resultantly, they remained unemployed. The entire Jat leadership is responsible for it. After bing in power for ten years, the then Chief Minister of Haryana could neither expand his vision nor helped his community to think big. His thinking and action confined to maintaining the personal support base and supremacy in Rohtak. The Jat youth again was not part of this development process.
This is also a fact that Jats have reasonable representation in administrative or police services, but they are underrepresented in industries, business, IT and other sectors.
There was a time when Rohtak used to be the centre of arts, culture, literature and even research. But with growing negligence, the talent started migrating and entire society got confined to narrow political considerations. Some leftists, progressives or the rightists who have been associated with this area were marginalised in this agitation. The Gurukuls and Arya Samaj also did not play a constructive role. Now the rulers, Jat leaders and the social scientists should address this core issue. Positive approach of some people would have saved the state from so many black spots on its fabric. The blunders by some miscreants pushed the state backward for almost two decades.
Dr Chandra Trikha from Chandigarh