Friday, 18 March 2016

The Spectre of Jat Agitation for Caste-Based Reservation in Haryana, Knocks Again!

-Rajesh Tyagi/19.3.2016

As ultimatum for second round of Jat agitation expired, the government in Haryana was forced to open fresh negotiations with the agitators, alongside bracing itself to contain the agitation. 80 companies of central paramilitary forces were called and deployed yesterday. However, as the BJP government in Haryana, headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, promised to pass the Bill to include Jats in OBC category to impart them benefits of caste reservation in ongoing session of the legislative assembly, the deadline by the agitators stands extended after negotiations, putting the stir on hold till March 30, giving respite for a while. 

Passing of the Bill or revival of the stir by Jats, may however trigger a whole wave of similar stirs by other castes for caste-based reservation, inside and outside Haryana. This may result in endless violence and anarchy.

After Rajasthan and Gujarat, more recently Haryana was in the throes of caste-based reactionary violence. The demand was to include ‘Jats’ in the list of other backward castes (OBCs). The Jats, an otherwise dominant caste in all spheres of life in Haryana, were up in arms to defend their domination against affirmative action of the state in the form of reservation to backward castes.

In the first round of agitation, Incalculable and huge damage to life and property was inflicted, with the bourgeois state relegated to fences. At least 30 people were killed and property worth 30 thousand crores was destroyed, alongside massive arson, loot and rapes in Haryana.

What made the otherwise peaceful state of Haryana to erupt in such massive violence?

The answer can be traced nowhere, except in the reactionary and opportunist policies of the state of Indian bourgeoisie. These policies, in turn, are based upon organic inability of the Indian bourgeois rulers to address the most pressing tasks confronting the country.

The incapacity of the Indian bourgeoisie to resolve even the fundamental issues like caste injustice, finds its answer, on the one hand, in its subjugation to imperialism and on the other its rooting in the society of the past, in medieval reaction.

The frail Indian bourgeoisie that rode to power in 1947 through a reactionary settlement with imperialists, betraying the freedom movement, has since remained incapable to address any of the democratic tasks. Its failed state and the opportunist policies directed by it, rather have since compounded these problems, central to which stands the agrarian question with caste-based oppression, injustice and discrimination at its helm, a hangover from the medieval tributary society.

The contemporary society, ruled by the reactionary Indian bourgeoisie, is deeply divided into castes, representing a whole range of social layers, starting from those possessing high social privileges and coming down to those living in extreme deprivations. Capitalism has made inroads for its flourishing inside this society, supplying new social conflicts of its own to supplement the old. This stacking of the new upon the old conflicts, has turned the society into a volcano waiting to explode in massive eruptions.

Central to failed policies of the bourgeois rulers, stands the policy of reservation in state jobs and admissions to academic institutions under the state. These policies continuing till date, that is, close to seven decades since Indian bourgeois had ascended to power, finding legitimacy in the clear recognition of the fact that vast majority still reels under caste-based social injustice, are themselves the un-rebuttable proof of their utter failure. These policies have contributed nothing substantive to closing the gap among social layers and eliminating caste-based social injustice, under the yoke of which billions of the poor and deprived still suffer.

The protracted operation of caste-based reservation policy, has however added a new element to already maturing social conflicts. It has carved out privileged, creamy layers of beneficiaries inside the recipient castes, which comes in direct conflict with aspirations of the poor and deprived mass within the non-recipient castes. Sections of bourgeois parties, thus find a ready base within the already divided society to divide it further and rule over it. Appealing to the caste-based identities, bourgeois leaders bid to mobilise the backward masses, pitting them against each other and fighting to grab the illusive benefits of reservation.

Both Ambedkarites and Stalinists, in their own peculiar ways, assist the bourgeoisie to indulge in endless maneuvers. Ambedkarites, associated with and speaking covertly for the sections of bourgeoisie that form creamy layers among the castes recipient of the benefits under it, support the policy of reservation while keeping the mass of dalits and poors under spell of illusory gains from reservation. The Stalinists, also render support to the reactionary maneuver of the bourgeoisie under the misbelief that the same is part of their equally misconceived 'democratic revolution'. 

The caste-based movements marred with all sorts of crimes and reactionary violence, from Rajasthan to Gujarat and Haryana have nevertheless brought to surface the entire rot accumulating at the bottom of bourgeois society. As the hoard of old and new social conflicts from the past and the present continues to pile-up inside the society, threatening to shake it to its foundations, the bourgeois rulers have only one answer to it- brutal repression.

While keeping the conflicts under control through power of bayonets, the bourgeois leaders, however continue to maneuver these conflicts to keep the poor and oppressed masses divided and subjected to their domination.

Through inducing a rift into the ranks of workers, toilers, poor and the oppressed, the reactionary caste-based movements, have assisted for long to ward-off the possibility of any challenge to the failed bourgeois regime and its reactionary policies in India.

Proliferation of the social conflicts inside the belly of capitalism, is however the incessant source of ever surging pressure, upon its walls, resulting into systemic crisis. What we have witnessed recently in Haryana is manifestation of a spiraling social crisis. Albeit this is only tip of the iceberg of what is in the offing.

The failure of the working class to open revolutionary avenues to channelize this energy, would continue to result in more reactionary violence. The way forward, as ever, remains: A cross-caste unity of the working class, leading billions of toilers behind it, to open a revolutionary offensive against capitalism and smash it sooner than later.

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