It took Baisala 7 years to mobilise Gujjars
For years now, the retired colonel and his team have been moving from village to village to ‘educate’ the Gujjars about the relevance of launching an agitation for ST status, reports KS Tomar.jaipur Updated: Jun 04, 2007 04:38 IST
Colonel (retd) Kirori Singh Baisala has spent the last seven years mobilising thousands of Gujjars across Rajasthan to raise their voice to demand the status of Scheduled Tribe.
Baisala, who is spearheading the Gujjar movement that has led to unprecedented unrest in Rajasthan, comes from a rustic background and a family of serving soldiers.
What drove him to undertake this campaign? Was it hunger for political power? No, says Baisala. “I wanted to do something for my community as I felt that these simple people were victims of injustice. I had no political ambition in mind when I laid the foundation of the movement seven years ago.”
For years now, the retired colonel and his team of trusted lieutenants have been moving from village to village to ‘educate’ the Gujjars about the relevance of launching an agitation for the ST status.
He had a committed group of volunteers including Jagram, Har Parsad and Dr Roop Singh, who used to travel with him to convince the people about the ‘need’ to pressurise the government to recommend ST status.
“The Gujjar youth were getting frustrated as they could not get jobs even after acquiring high qualification. The Meenas, on the other hand, easily got employment in government departments. The community realised this and agreed to the need for an agitation. Our supporters swelled with the passage of time as they understood that ST status had the potential to change the future of their children,” Baisala recalls.
As a “believer in Gandhian philosophy and a disciplined soldier”, Baisala says he is upset over the caste war that has erupted between the Gujjars and the Meenas. “(But) Soldiers are not taught to surrender, hence I will fight to the last. If the government uses repressive measures and the outcome is not in accordance with our community’s expectation, I will start an indefinite hunger strike,” he said.