CASTE CENSUS- Is it worth the hype?


The decennial census of India is the primary source of information about the demographic characteristics of the population of India. The 2011 census will be the largest census in the history of mankind. But of late, the 2011 census is in news for the bad reason and media and socialites have started calling it THE ‘CASTE’ CENSUS and much has been said about the same. Even Amitabh Bachchan has voiced his concern saying that “My caste is Indian” and the urbane class seems to have found a new ‘mantra’ which they keep on chanting now!

The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis or castes. Many believe that cast is a part of Hindu society but I would like to correct the misconception here because none of the Hindu scriptures endorse caste-based discrimination!!  But its terrible that now its a part of Hindu Society! And why only Hindu, don’t we have Christian Dalits? Or is the Shia-Sunni system of Muslims any better?

Coming back to the issue of Caste based census.  Many feel that caste based census is not important in today’s time and have been criticising the Govt for the same but have we ever thought who are these ‘many’? These are essentially the people from elite class or from cities I suppose who believe things are hunky and dory always. Because ‘Caste’ today is a concept, which is deeply rooted amongst the Indian Society that even if we pray to God I doubt he/she can help! I absolutely condemn the caste system and I wish my future generations take birth in a caste less society but if I sit back and think pragmatically I realise that it is a dream too difficult to be turned into reality.

 People who are saying that their caste is Indian, I want to ask all of them that how many times have they filled the school forms of their children mentioning the Caste ‘Indian’? In almost all of the Competitive exams in our country there is a column for Caste. Did we protest? NO. If somebody asks a ‘Gupta’ that are you a ‘baniya’? He/She says YES. I don’t think they say “No, I am an INDIAN!!”

 

Then why we are suddenly going mad over the whole issue. Mr. Bachchan doesn’t know the real ‘picture’ of this country. 63% of India is rural and this means 63% of India’s population believes in Caste and other ideologies. And let me be unbiased and say that even urban India with its fair share of educated class believes in Caste. So it is a waste of time to blabber about Caste Census because I really don’t think we can make a difference by criticising a census which aims at knowing the statistics in our country.

Let us start from our homes, our families! I am a ‘Brahmin’ (Yes I know my caste) and I feel embarrassed while writing it  but we are still not allowed to touch our sweeper because my grandma creates a fuss over it. And though I am trying from the past 15 years but I have failed miserably because she is still the same. And I can bet that there are hundreds of such homes in India where this happens. The urban class still has a ‘separate’ glass for their maids. So as it is said ‘charity begins at home’, please let’s clean the mess in which (if not all) most of us are trapped in! 

Now coming back to the census, the Caste census I believe has its share of pro’s and con’s. I think caste census would surely help in tabulating the exact number of the underprivileged people (hate using the term) and the Government can plan schemes accordingly. But as every coin has another side, I also have concerns regarding the caste census. What if the census says that 60% people are SC/ST? I know it’s a hypothetical thought but still somewhere I feel my concern is valid enough.

As I end this post I would like to make it clear that in no way I endorse the Caste System but I also don’t want to ignore the reality and I want everyone to see the mirror for once. I hope that people understand the problems of Caste System and try to remove the barriers of Caste (which I firmly believe is IMPOSSIBLE now). Also, No more ‘feel good’ statements like ‘My caste is Indian’.

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5 thoughts on “CASTE CENSUS- Is it worth the hype?

  1. Wonderful topic hammered at the right time in d molten iron faced society . I agree that we all believe in the caste system,not only 63% of rural but even a major part of the urban population believes and the concept is really deeprooted in the society . . . Thanx my dear friend for glowing the light on the recently raised topic of caste census .. Waitin for ur next one… Dr Waseem Ansari

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  2. Hey Rahul… another great article dished out from your kitchen…. But I kinda disagree… Okay… given the situations… we have to treat issues with relativity in the past…. Caste consiousness, as in TODAY is a LOT LESS than… say 30-40 yrs ago. So going by the time line… now we a see that the rigid walls have fallen… now… Inter Caste marriages are very common… Adoption too is picking up… and people don’t bother about which caste their friends belong too… something that coudn’t have been imagined some years ago…

    So… in a complete sense… Rigidity of caste has fallen… all that is left is the label… which too I presume… shall gradually die out….

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  3. I agree that caste is deep rooted into ur society bt we cnt ignore a fact dat at the end of day …..IT is WRONG !!!! We cant advocate an evil though we knw dat it resides in every home…one day we need to get rid of it…so WHY not NOW???? Saying ” My caste in Indian” by a few can motivate others to do so….n if it does a good to even 1% of Indains…Dats a big number…n hence can be a base to coming change in society!!!

    But, U wrote it honestly n dats wat striked d iron…n it is sure the unfortunate real face of society n u vry well described it!!! Keep blogging!!!

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  4. hmmm…
    liked the line of thought..
    as a habit we’ve become too critical of everything the govt does. this sounds refereshing. And moreover, the issue is not raised where there is discrimination, but fools become the god when its just stats that matters. I mean how do u expect to be giving privileges to a minority caste without even having to count and verify whether they are or not in minority. And moreover, if this system would go any further from here, it’ll go toward being a hurdle for those who make fake caste certificates to benefit from the reservations.
    keeping a count of castes in a country that holds reservations for these castes obvsly makes sense..
    remove the reservations from the system, and trust me the caste system wud go. the so called general class would not resent the reserved ones for taking away their well deserved seats, nor would the not-so-backward backward classes find any significance of their castes. As for those who are truly backward, it is just more sensible to promote them from their current status and not give them incentives for staying where they are!!

    nice one rahul!
    🙂

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  5. I am an American in the USA and work for a Patel family. Anytime I have asked about the caste system they don’t really give me a real answer so I have assumed they don’t want to discuss it. Mr Patel grew up here, but Mrs Patel did not and hasn’t grasped the concept that I am not one of her indentured servants she has stashed at the hotel where I am employed. This has led me to believe that she thinks of me in a lower caste than herself and it angers me that she lives in a country where the common citizenry here have the same rights as the privileged and is instituting “her” way in a country where she is reaping benefits she would certainly not have in India.

    So, I am trying to get the gist of Indian society by surfing the web and reading what I find of interest.

    Debi

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