11 May, 2021

Brigade That Lit The Fire

As the Jat agitation claims more victims, the Khattar-centred ploy of caste politics has gone awry

In Bad Blood
Buses set afire by agitators in Sonepat, Haryana
Photo by PTI
Brigade That Lit The Fire

For a man who has become chief minister for the first time, soc­ial engineering is a bite too big to chew. Handpicked by the RSS and the prime minister to head the government in Haryana, Man­­ohar Lal Khattar was exp­ected to have a smooth tenure. With the minority community marginalised, and with the full backing of the Centre, the former RSS pracharak was expected to consolidate the hold of the Sangh and the party. But the script has gone horribly wrong.

Since October 2014, for each electora­lly dominant community, the Khattar sarkar seems to have come up with a unique formulation. So, to appease Arya Samajis, Bra­­hmins and other ‘forward’ castes, it has launched a series of gaushalas or cow shelters, even proposing two ‘cow sanctuaries’.

“Why isn’t there a census of cows and other cattle first? There is cow protection, but where the cow is nobody knows,” says historian K.C. Yadav,  who finds many of the government’s efforts ‘superficial’. “The desi cow is indeed...

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