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’.