Advertisement
Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
Farmer Protests

Running On Jat Fuel

A seemingly imploding agitation against three contentious laws found a new lease of life after a teary appeal from Jat farmer leader Rakesh Tikait. What next for the farmers who have vowed to carry on till the laws are repealed? The face-off with the government just got more intense.

Running On Jat Fuel
Photographs by PTI
Running On Jat Fuel
outlookindia.com
2021-02-10T16:20:04+05:30

Time is a great healer, they say. On January 29, many in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar stood witness to a moment of rapprochement that could inflect India’s political history—or not. It’s vital to offer that caveat right at the outset. For, the unseen undercurrents of our politics do not necessarily submit to neat surface syllogisms. Contrary pulls make up our political psychology to such an extent that its effects often seem irrational. And yet, when leaders of two communities—Jats and Muslims—came together to address a mahapanchayat in Sisauli village, no one could be faulted for seeing in that event a kind of tectonic shift. The ground itself moving...but back to its original, organic whole. Towards a suture, towards healing.

This needs the backstory. Healing presupposes a wound, and this one was of the order of a mini Partition. The death toll in the Muzaffarnagar riots wasn’t high—only about 60—but the incidents spoke of a complete social amputation. Over 50,000 Muslims found themselves wrenched away from their old homes, like uproo­ted trees, never able to go back to their soil. It happened in 2013—a year before the Modi era began formally. Muzaffarnagar’s Jats—the same land-owning farmers who have now edged their way to the centrestage of the farmer protests—­violently sundered their old ties with local Muslims. Economic ties, as much as social—­typically, the Muslims were landless and worked on the Jats’ farms. That whole eventscape had underlined one fact in blood: the Jats, a socially cohesive rural community spread over a continuum in north-western India, but somewhat outside the classic Hindu varna order, had been won over by Hindutva. This applied nearly ­unfailin­gly across western UP, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan: the Jats became one of the most reliable social bulwarks for the BJP in the years to come. Jat leaders from the Congress moved over or threatened to; young Dushyant Chautala, of Jat patriarch Devi Lal’s lineage, splintered from the INLD and is in alliance with saffron, as Haryana deputy CM; others like the promising Jayant Chaudhary, grandson of the iconic Chaudhary Charan Singh and RLD leader, found the going tough. Even the wounds of demonetisation couldn’t make the Jats budge from their new ­affiliation.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

How Parag Agrawal Obsessively Focused On Controlling Hate Speech As Twitter CTO

How Parag Agrawal Obsessively Focused On Controlling Hate Speech As Twitter CTO

After taking over as CTO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal’s main focus was on using AI and ML to identify hate speech and bots that were used to spread misinformation through the microblogging site.

'Omicron Virus' Or 'South Africa Variant'? Here's What Not To Call New Covid-19 Strain

'Omicron Virus' Or 'South Africa Variant'? Here's What Not To Call New Covid-19 Strain

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has led to several discussions on WHO's method of naming virus variants on Greek alphabets. But terms like 'South Africa virus' have remained in use.

IPL 2022 Retention: Who Stays And Who Goes - Complete Team Lists

IPL 2022 Retention: Who Stays And Who Goes - Complete Team Lists

IPL Retention list was replete with full of expected names but there were some big omissions too. The mega auction will have a massive pool of stars that teams can now choose from.

Kashmir: Why Is BJP Predicting Doomsday For J&K 2 Years After Article 370 Abrogation

Kashmir: Why Is BJP Predicting Doomsday For J&K 2 Years After Article 370 Abrogation

The statement, issued by senior BJP leader of J&K Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, raises concern for minorities living in Kashmir Valley.

Advertisement