Fire at Trade Fair & OBC Reservations
Dr. K. Jamanadas
Tuesday, 13 April , 2006, 01:13 PM( E-Forum )
There was that tragedy where hundreds of people got burned in a business trade fair in Meerut,
and the other item was that Mr. Rahul Bajaj was opposing the OBCs reservation in the higher
centres and institutes of learning.
Mr Rahul Bajaj is the grandson of the celebrity Jaman Lal Bajaj, of yester years, who was recognized during his lifetime as principal leader of Gandhiji and was, I believe, a signatory to the Poona Pact. As a child, I had an occasion of seeing that great personality of Mr Jaman Lal Bajaj. He had come to Ballarshah in connection with some timber purchasing and decided to stay at our house, we being the most prominent Dalit family of the town.
He was with our family for about week. During that period he taught us all children and women folk in the house, how to use the spinning wheel the charakha of Gandhiji. My father had to arrange for him the milk of cow as buffalo milk would not do for him. Also my father had to
get from neighboring city of Chandrapur oil for cooking from bullock-drawn home oil expeller as oil from power driven mills that we were using would not be useful for him and his associates.
He told my father that promoting village industry in the country helps the Bahujan artisans and poor OBC people and we must all use Khadi and all household articles from local manufacturers. Here was a person who did not believe in Untouchability, and was having all his meals etc. with the rest of our family, and presumably was following Gandhiji's advice. He even treated my father with respect and dignity when he went to Wardha, home-town of Bajajs, on his invitation, without anyway following any Untouchability during meals etc. My father used to tell the story of this visit so often, that I remember it vividly even after more than 60 odd years.
And today I find his grandson Mr Rahul Bajaj full of hate and contempt for the Dalits and OBCs. There might be some personal reason for his hostile behavior, but one thing is sure that he does not deserve to be called the successor to the great Jaman Lal Bajaj. He seems to be miles away from the ideology of either Gandhi and Jaman Lal Bajaj. He may be blood relation and legal heir to Jaman Lal, but surely he can not be ideological heir of that great personality.
Mr Rahul Bajaj wickedly told other day on the TV channels that, having OBCs in what he called private industry, will ruin the industry. So much hate about OBCs, in his talk was there though not much about Dalits it was rather surprising. May be Dalits are not yet ready to storm and capture their caste protected industries but OBCs could be. These business people talk of caste when it comes to matters of Dalits and OBCs, but refrain to talk about their own caste enclosed and caste protected business community. They are the only ones with the merit, they
feel, thanks to Gandhiji. V. T. Rajshekhar says, "Merit my foot". A poor soul of Gandhiji, who naively considered these industrialists as trustees of society, must be twisting and turning in his grave at the sight of present day business community.
I wonder what is the private and what is the public as far as industry is concerned. But they call their PUBLIC Limited companies as private industry. It uses all the public resources, the land, water, and electricity and all the capital from the public sources, public institutions, and public banks and makes money from selling of the products to public, especially to OBCs, Dalits being too poor to buy their luxury goods. And even then they get thousands of crores of tax relieves from public exchequer. And in the ultimate analysis, end up causing pollution to public air and water environmental resources. And then end the public banks with lakhs of crores of non-performing assets. I fail to understand what is private about their industry.
The second news item of the day was burning of trade fair tragedy. No doubt, it was a horrible tragedy and all guilty deserve punishment. But what puzzles me, no body seems to blame the private industry for arranging a fair for their personal gains. Certainly, they were not doing charity. Everybody blamed public servants, govt. officers for dereliction of their duties, for granting them permission within two days. No body saw in that act, the efficiency of the officers, they saw the corruption, and blamed the officers but not the industry which 'managed' to get the sanctions the very same day. The high officers were transferred and also became the targets of public ire. All leaders big and small attended the site to increase difficulty in relief and rehabilitation.
And ultimately it was Government who had to declare compensation to the victims of tragedy from public money. No body, no TV channel, no newspaper, even cursorily mentioned the industry magnets, who were the primary cause of the tragedy. Not one leader of industry, whose products were for sale in the trade fair, was seen on TV. No industrialist, businessman or trader said that they would give compensation to the next of kin of the victims.
No news reporter, no news editor of any TV channel felt like interviewing anybody selling their merchandise in the fair. This is public and private morality.
I remember an incidence in early sixties, during my five years stay in England. There was one single case of Typhoid fever reported in the country. The officers within next couple of days located the culprit, an imported can of cold meat. This can was shown on the TV and public could read the label, not a word was uttered, but within three days or so, the company importing that can, had to go under liquidation. That is power of public awareness and public opinion and that is public morality. Here in India, not even a name of business is mentioned who wanted to benefit from the fair, that burnt hundreds.
In India here we have double standards. While getting benefits, industry declares itself as private industry. While paying compensation to the victims, it is public money that must be used. Not even the Left leaders seem to think differently. Just by one stroke of imagination, the
prestigious public institutions of learning aided or otherwise became private property of tycoons and happily declaration of banning OBCs the 52 percent of public is clamped by dictators of industry.
Well, that is some food for thought for all those young souls who are agitating for prevention of OBC youth in Industry. Let them remember, days are not far off, when OBCs would be awakened.