This powerful open letter by a Patel regarding Patels’ reservation in Gujarat is a must read
Where on one hand Gujarat is in a critical condition, thanks to the Patidar community demanding reservation for Patels, there are still some Patels who aren’t supporting this. Such are the people who can think sensibly and not follow a crowd, blindly. To act and think justly is very important for a democracy to be successful.
One such person is Ashvin Patel. He wrote a powerful blog about this incident – A letter by a Patel’s son. We urge every Gujarati, and every Indian to read it. He wrote the whole post in Gujarati. You can read the original piece here, on his blog. For your convenience, we have translated it to English. Here goes –
There is not much that needs to be told, we all know what happened yesterday night and it is a shame. I was afraid of the same thing and it happened. Ever since I have got my sensibilities as a child, I have always very proudly said that I am a Patel. The image of Patels has been spoiled, who earlier were known as quiet, hardworking entrepreneurs.
A 22-year-old boy asked and you all went ahead to demand reservation? It is all right to ask; it’s everyone’s right to ask. But is this the correct way? We boast a lot in our WhatsApp Patel groups – that we are huge in number and that we regularly pay our taxes and that we have influenced America for choosing governors for a lot of its states. After what we did yesterday, we have lost all the rights to say anything at all.
We claim to pay the maximum amount of tax. Yesterday the buses that we burned and the the offices of Nagar Palika and police stations that we vandalized, were they made from Afghanistan’s money? Did we think once before vandalizing them that they were made from the same money we pay as taxes? Burning up things at midnight – is this the correct way to show the power of Patels?
If you want to display your power, do it peacefully. As far as I know, they have a lot of management seats in self finance colleges. If Patels have a problem, then give the management quota and NRI seats to kids of Patels for free. When we can do this on our own, why should we ask for it? If you have money and you know a brilliant kid who is financially weak, then fund his education. That way, the kid’s life will be sorted. But who will do that?
This didn’t look like a movement for Patel reservation, but this looked like a movement of getting votes of the Patels. An anarchic mentality was clearly seen on the stage yesterday. It was a waste to gather such a huge crowd. To gain appreciation internally, the press was told that it’s not ours, but it’s somebody else’s urge. The way buses and other government properties were burned publicly, it looked like the rally was led by a leader from Bihar or UP, and not by a Patel.
In his one hour long speech, for how long did the guy talk about ‘reservation’? Not more than 10 minutes, maximum. For the rest of the time, he was accusing the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. He was also outraging and encouraging people in the wrong direction. “Nitish Kumar is with us”. No, we don’t need such a politician. Youngsters alone can’t go a long way, the advice of elderly, experienced people is also essential. Did you call anyone like that? No.
Many might say that the police was unjust to have done the lathi charge. Maybe, but did you see our fault? Who gave you the right to take official matters in your hands? We got the permission to organize a rally. The government did all that it could, to support us – from not charging anything for renting the ground to not collecting the toll taxes. Was it the right thing to understand the government’s support as its misery? Taking the permission for a rally and sitting down for an indefinite fast was a wrong thing to do. The collector himself, to save people from discomfort came to collect the representation letter. How could you tell that you won’t give it unless the Chief Minister comes herself? Are you going to keep taking U-turns, back to back?
Do your business peacefully and celebrate the upcoming festivals with peace. If somebody from our neighborhood talks about creating havoc, we should try to make them understand to deal with the situation peacefully. We are known for our peaceful culture, let us not destroy that image. Patels are respected everywhere – from a small police station to a parliamentary house, Patels are looked upon with respect. Let us not destroy the assets of our country, state and city. We will have to pay for it from our own pockets. None of the government officials are going to pay for it.
Most of you will find this truth false. But it is my responsibility as a Patel, as a citizen of my country, to be fine with it… Jay Hind.
Thanks for penning down these thoughts, Ashvin Patel. We wish this letter reaches as many people as it can. To everyone blaming all the Patels for being selfish and making irrelevant demands, think about it before generalizing the whole community. We have nothing else to say.