Hardik Patel: Regressive Idiocracy

No matter how hard you try, you can never escape the ridiculousness of news in India. Whether it’s adding to the ever growing list of murder mysteries or baseless accusations of molestation. However, there’s one story that’s making waves and has managed to really infuriate me, and that is the story of Hardik Patel.

Who is Hardik Patel?

Hardik Patel is a 22-year-old commerce graduate (graduated with less than 50% marks from Ahmedabad’s Sahajanand College) who helped his father run a small business in rural Ahmedabad. He comes from a middle-class Patidar family from Viramgam, near Ahmedabad.

What is Hardik Patel doing?

Hardik Patel is fighting for the right of his caste members, the Patidars, to be included in the list of “Other Backward Classes” so that affirmative actions such as reservations in colleges and government jobs will be made available to them.

What Hardik Patel is doing is downright regressive in my opinion. Do we really want to lower educational requirements for jobs and colleges? Also, he is inciting violence. When has that ever led to anything good? He’s fighting to get the Patidar’s labelled as “backward”, really? I understand that “backward” castes in India get extra privileges in the form of quotas, but honestly, shouldn’t we be fighting to abolish this caste reservation system in the first place?

“We want reservation to preserve our dignity and our heritage. We have the right to reservation, and so do our children,” Hardik Patel said at the rally on August 25. How is labeling yourself as an “other backward class” preserving your dignity and heritage? Please do explain.

[fruitful_tabs type=”accordion” width=”100%” fit=”false”] [fruitful_tab title=”TL;DR, The Indian Caste System”] The caste system in India is a system of social stratification which has pre-modern origins, was transformed by the British Raj, and is today the basis of reservation in India. It is India’s form of affirmative action. [/fruitful_tab] [/fruitful_tabs]
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Hardik Patel’s fight for justice (?) was triggered when his sister, who despite scoring high marks in her exams, was unfortunately denied admission into a medical school thanks to the aforementioned reservation system. So, instead of fighting against this anachronistic system, he wants to make it bigger! How does that make sense or fair to other people than the Patels? Tomorrow some other genius is going to stand up and rally for his caste to be included in this list.

Think of it in another way, the backward people who do get admission in this college will (may) graduate to become doctors. Would you want a country full of these “doctors” who made it as medical professionals not on the basis of their intelligence and hard work but because of their caste? Remind me to avoid all Dr. Patels in the future if Hardik Patel gets his way.

Everyone’s been talking about how wealthy the Patels are across the world. But that’s not the case in India with any single caste. So Hardik Patel is probably appealing to the lazy Patels. To get a job without working hard, or admission into a college without studying, sure, any lazy person would take that. But also keep in mind, for many people in rural areas the opportunities of work aren’t the same as it is for their counterparts in cities. So, the reservation system is their only saviour. But sadly, that’s not an excuse to keep it alive. It’s a call for local governments to create job opportunities through economic growth.

Including more castes in the reservation system isn’t going to solve any problem. In fact, it may lead to greater problems in the future. Hardik Patel, listen up, if you want to fight for something, fight for a level playing field, fight to abolish this regressive caste-system; fight for a better education system for everyone, fight for more colleges. What you’re fighting for is inequality! You’re taking India further back by decades and are detrimental to its development. In fact, if you do, you won’t be the first person to enter politics to promote the rights of a single sect of people. And we’ve all seen how that story ends.

Devesh Sahai

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