squabbling Gujjars have reflected dangerous trends for the future of our democracy. The street battle that demanded Schedule Tribe status for the Gujjars ended up destroying public property worth thousands of crores before claiming close to 30 lives. Although the Rajasthan government could claim semblance of victory after negotiating a truce but the weak-kneed response of the political class portends a disaster for future.
Despite the restoration of normalcy in the state, it is the fragmentation of societal framework and the rise of pressure groups that is disturbing. These pressure groups have almost always have come together on frivolous grounds and have sought to assert their identity through confrontation based demands. And as the demand has been for the scarce resources, clashes and struggle have inevitably followed.
Yet this is not a one-off incidence . There have been several instances in post independence history of India where sub nationalism and even sectarian identities were sought and even promoted. Starting from the Eelam politics in Tamil Nadu to the full throttle Khalistan movement in Punjab, each of them were promoted at several points of time by the myopic and often self-serving political class. But the undercurrent of nefarious caste based movement reached its crescendo after the acceptance of Mandal Commission recommendations. Since then there has been a cataclysmic shift from struggle against social hierarchy based oppression to the mad rush for claiming the maximum from the reservation freebies that the government had to offer. Gujjar agitation can be seen in this light. Is it for this end result that so many had to part with their lives in the freedom struggle and in the wars since then?