Of Patels and Reservation: a light hearted look
All of us who belong to the non entrepreneur groups ( we Bengalis are prominent among them ) look upon the Gujaratis, more specifically Patels as the epitome of all that is the business spirit of a community that has by all accounts taken charge of entrepreneurship In India. They are the ultimate risk takers, hard workers, ready to nose around for profits everywhere and have a proud record of successful business not just in this country but all over the world. It is well known that half of all motels in the USA are Patel owned. See here.
Wellspun City, Gujarat
Which is why a recent report in Economic Times which reported a militant movement that has suddenly taken wing in Gujarat shocked me to the gills. The Patels, we are told, want reservations as members of the Other Backward Classes ( OBC) group. They want what? Reservations in Government jobs? That too in Gujarat, the shining Gujarat that has broken all bounds of growth in the past 15 years? The Gujarat where all corporates take wing whenever the likes of Mamata Bannerjee do bad things to them? Where there is a new major industry being set up every other week? That Gujarat?
What could be the matter?
To me this raises some disturbing questions.
The first one. Is a government job so profitable that even people who have business in their genes want to do that in exclusion to what they are supposed to excel in? Or is it that they will do the business that they have always planned, but the government job is a fall back pension plan (after all you don’t need to actually work do you?)
The second question that comes up is "Is the Gujarat growth story all that it is cracked up to be?" Maybe the sceptics who complained that the profit was being skimmed by the corporates while the common people had worsening social indicator outcomes are correct? What if this is just a manifestation of the difficulties that ordinary people are facing? Maybe they were not just the anti Hindu lefties that we thought them to be ?
The final question that I want answered is this. In recent years there has been a huge influx of Bengali youth to Gujarat for jobs which are not available in their native climes. Have these Bongs infected the good Patels? Is it another case of what Bengal thinks today (government jobs are best) India, in this case, Gujarat, thinks tomorrow?
Take your pick!