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The dye is caste in Gujarat

By Rajiv Shah
I think it was 1994 when I first met Japanese scholar Takashi Shinoda, an Indologist, during my routine visit to the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad, at that time still known for some quality research. Once headed such academics of highest order such as DT Lakdawala and YK Alagh, the institute has since collapsed – at least this is what I learn from Gujarat’s academic circles, with whom I had developed good rapport before I was shifted to Gandhinagar to report on government affairs for the Times of India in 1997.
Unassuming, Shinoda took me to the institute canteen for tea, and told me of his latest area of interest – social mobility and occupational diversification of different castes over several decades. What he told me was indeed of great interest to me – that Gujarat’s “enterprising” Patels, who I thought till then were mainly a farming community, had still not overtaken the Banias in business. However, he underlined, “The way things …

Painful Patel punch: Gujarat is once again subject of major pilot project on social engineering, deliberate and planned

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By RK Misra*
Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it scum floats to the top. But those who do so must bear the burden of the stink. Both stirred and shaken, Gujarat is going through turmoil-filled days as its affluent and numerically strong Patidar (Patel) community mounts a fierce assault for other backward class (OBC) reservation that is straining the fabric of inter-community harmony to its tensile limits.

“Vulnerable” Gujarat Patidars, others agitate for reservation

By Rajiv Shah
As I was sipping morning tea the other day, an idea came to my mind: Why not ask the age of the young man who is said to be “leading” the current Patidar or Patel reservation stir, Hardik Patel – an agitation that has put Gujarat back on the national map after more than a year. In fact, ever since Narendra Modi left Gandhinagar to occupy the gaddi in Delhi, the view has gone pretty strong, at least in my media fraternity, that Gujarat has “lost its importance”. A few TV channels have even “withdrawn” their senior journalists from Gujarat, telling them that there is “no news in the state”.
I sent a message on WhatsApp, a facility I generally avoid using, to a young “pro-reservationist” leader in Ahmedabad, whom I happen to know somewhat. He promptly returned with his answer “23, I suppose”, and after a while phoned me up to tell me the “importance” of the agitation, which has spread from North Gujarat to Ahmedabad and Surat, engulfing “upper” castes as well – Banias, Brahmi…

Non-resident Patidars of UK, USA, Canada emerging as biggest supporters of Patel reservation movement

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By RK Misra*
The front is on fire and the back is burning. Quite literally.
Up in front, the country’s current Parliament session has gone up in smoke-logjam over GST, Land Bill and all. Down under, in the Prime Minister’s backyard, Gujaraj, a Patel ignited prairie fire – akin to the Gujjar reservation stir in Rajasthan – rages unhindered, threatening to engulf the government of his protégé, Anandiben Patel.

High on pronouncements and publicity, the Centre is lagging on most other parameters

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RK Misra* 
Politicians in power allure by denying and entice by delaying. Dangling bones ensure jumping ‘dogs’ and protean promises make for leaping ‘frogs’. And thereafter you have yoga for the masses, as if they haven't had enough.
Walk the talk has been a popular TV show hosted by a top print media editor, but talking while walking leads to breathlessness.

Displacement-induced development

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By Rajiv Shah
The year was 2012, when D Jagatheesa Pandian, a Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat, was state energy secretary. Accompanied with two journalist colleagues, I dashed into his room on finding he had no guests to entertain. A seasoned official who became Gujarat chi
Yet, in 2012, GSPC’s “downturn” wasn’t yet visible, at least on surface. So, we asked Pandian our hackneyed question: Any other success in oil and gas exploration? First Pandian said, blushing, “I am no more GSPC managing director, why don’t you ask Tapan Ray?”, and then told us there was a “possibility” of finding a huge reserve in South Gujarat. “That’s big news, please give details”, I tried inquiring, to know the exact spot where the reserve was located. “Well, it’s too preliminary. It would be premature to write”, he replied. When I persisted, he gave me the location: the industrial town of Ankaleshwar, dubbed by environmentalists as one the most polluted in the country and the world, quoting Central Pollution Con…

Suspension of MPs from Lok Sabha is replication of Modi's undemocratic mindset during his rule in Gujarat

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By Shaktisinh Gohil*
What happened in Parliament yesterday was unprecedented event in the history of India – it was an effort to tarnish the country’s Parliamentary tradition. The ruling party has the primary responsibility to see to it that Parliament functions normally by holding constructive dialogue with the opposition.