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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Society with No Forward Caste by Khurshid Alam

A Society with No Forward Caste
-- Caste-based Census may Leave India with No Good Caste, No Good People

Many organizations, institutions, and media groups launched campaigns against the idea of caste based census in India. All the polls depict that the people at large are not happy with the caste based census, which our leaders must take note of.

Some political parties are demanding that caste be included in the census which was abolished after 1931. Notably these parties are those which have the records to have divided the people on the basis of caste from time to time. Mandal commission (1990) is a good example in this case.

Bad side of caste-based census

Economic factor: The vice behind caste being a factor in the census is nothing but economic and greed. Once a caste is recorded and recognized, the people belonging to this caste group would demand for economic gain through reservation. In 1931, when census was carried out based on caste system, some communities declared themselves as upper caste. Then there was no reservation in British India. Now it is possible that the reverse of this can happen to gain benefits from reservation, and those who really deserve but do not record themselves as lower caste may suffer.

Social factor: Social differences based on caste have no logic as they are based on birth, while our bahaviour and culture is largely a learned behaviour and is not based on birth. It is a matter of concern that the political leaders, who are claiming to do good to the people, are so ignorant that they do not know how to develop a society. They merely believe that once a person is born in a certain social class, he cannot change forever and that he must cherish the benefits because of his birth. These political leaders want to teach the people to be lazy instead.

Political factor: Since reservation is based on caste, many political parties and leaders demand their caste to be recognised as backward, even though certain castes have never been traditionally regarded as backward. The agitation of the Gujjar community in Rajasthan to be given the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status in 2008 is such an example. It is to be noted that they already enjoy the benefits of belonging to the Other Backward Class in the state. The Meenas, another caste community in Rajasthan, followed the same path of agitation and won the ST status. Both the castes earlier belonged to the upper caste system in the society. This is only because they want to gain the benefits of reservation.

Similar agitations for recognition of new castes as backward are going on in many states in India, especially those which are widely divided on caste basis. This race has the danger to initiate more conflicts for other castes to be declared as backward and claim the benefits of reservation.

If caste is included in the 2011 census, we will have a society with no forward caste left at all. We will be on the risk of creating an India with no good caste and no good people.


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