Arpit Raval
Aakar patel and his caste obsession
This article originally appeared in centreright.in. CRI content has now been subsumed in swarajyamag.com. The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of swarajyamag.com

Note: Many articles have been written countering Aakar Patel’s obsessive compulsive disorder driven articles on Modi, but this one talks about something else, something that is fundamentally wrong with this man. I choose to write on it since it hurts to see him cut and segregate Gujarati community on the caste lines.

Flashback: Gujarat 2012

Justice Arnab with his famous 1200 decibel volume was holding a panel on Times Now. The panel was being liberal with words… ‘Mela’ (meaning a village fair) would be the most appropriate word to describe what the discussion actually was, but that is inconsequential for our story. Among the myriad of panellists, two ‘geniuses’ were: Aakar Patel and Yogendra Yadav.

“All Gujaratis are communal” Aakar Uvacha (meaning said)

After a mumbling rebuttal from Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson,

“Patels will spoil the broth this time” Yogendra Yadav voiced.

Aakar jumps in and explains how “Patels idolise Sardar Patel who was a ‘decisive’ leader thus they will vote for Modi.”

As the show goes on, both of them dissect Gujaratis based on caste and community lines. This helped Guajaratis discover the caste-wise traits they were carrying since 12th century.

I learnt that I vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) because in the late 1980s, when I was born, congress had KHAM(Kshatriya Harijan Adivasi Muslim) caste dynamics and I got disgusted with it. Thanks to Aakar.


June 2013.

I came across news piece of Edhi’s bad health. It is distressing, since he’s the only little hope for humanity in Pakistan. That got me curious about Gujaratis in Pakistan (see, Aakar is right…we Gujaratis are so parochial…we count them as one of us, even if they are on the other side.) And I went on the internet treasure hunting information about Gujaratis in Pakistan, especially in Karachi, since my family had ties with the city since 1800s.

Then, I came across one of the two ‘perspicacious ‘articles by none other than THE Aakar Patel.

What in the regional Gujarati god’s name was he doing there?

He wrote about how Pakistan needs more Gujaratis. Yes, those communal Gujaratis whom he had abused.

“Indian society functions as a whole. Observed in part, it is dysfunctional. Without Gujaratis and Pakistanis, India wouldn’t have an economy. Delete Tata/Birla/Ambanis/Ruias and India begins to look like Bangladesh”

Mogambo bhai khush hua.

Now, here are the gems:

“Gujaratis try to hold up the Pakistani economy. But the peasant Punjabi runs over his effort with his militant stupidity. Why cannot a Punjabi Pakistani think like a trader? Because, he’s not converted from mercantile caste.”

He goes on to describe how not all Gujaratis, but a few castes are carrying on Pakistan’s economy while counting names from each communities. He is wrong on so many counts; I’ll have to make a career out of correcting his each assertion since the beginning of his career.

This obsession with castes is wreaking havoc since independence and we still don’t learn. It has seeped in so deep, that even while praising Gujaratis, he cannot leave caste aside.

This is how he segregates Gujaratis: Hindus (peasant/trader/martial), Muslims (converted from peasant/trader/martial castes), Christians (converted from peasant/trader/martial castes) Parsis (those who came from Iran & stayed here. But according to him, that doesn’t suffice to pronounce them as Gujarati.)

Makes sense to you? No? You communal fascist!

The thing with Aakar is that he loves to attribute one’s virtues to his community & ancestors rather than to the individual. And in that too, he has been charitably generic. He counts his own caste Patels as peasants, but forgets that 30% motels of the United States of America are run by these peasant Patels.

In a drive to discredit Modi, he made a startling observation: Gujarati Muslims are better off than ones in the rest of the country, is because they’re converted from the mercantile class. Does that mean Muslims of the rest of India would be living wretched life even if they were Hindus because the caste makes them so?

Another observation says, “Why is Pakistan such a mess? Some would blame Islam, but the problem is not the religion at all. The problem is a lack of the caste balance. There are too many peasants and not too many traders”


Trin Trin! “Hello, White house? I’ve got a solution for Pakistan, which the world has failed to get. Pump in Gujaratis in Pakistan!”

The thing with Pakistan is that whatever you write about its community and culture that also applies to India. His assertion of Gujaratis running the economy is right, but the idea that it is because so and so the caste or pre-conversion case is regressively and plainly stupid.

Whatever caste dynamics or the picture he may paint, North India comes out as a loser. Is it fair to demonise entire north India because they’re not mercantile?

And is it fair to paint all of North India’s Muslims as jahil, aggressive and with wrong priorities because their ancestors were converted from non-mercantile castes?

These regressive moronic ideas are precisely what Gujarat and India can do without.