This has reference to the article on caste-based census (May 11). It asks whether counting caste will help to reduce inequality. Will ‘not counting' help? The caste system is a bitter truth of Indian society. With barbaric acts such as honour killings still taking place, one wonders if we will ever be able to get rid of the evil called caste. The government once felt that reservation was the only way to help the backward castes. The thinking and subsequent policies have worked fine to some extent. There is no harm collecting data on the socio-economic status of people hand-in-hand while conducting a study of the demography.
There is uproar in some sections demanding a caste census. This is against the unity of Indians. According to the Constitution, all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, are equal. The caste system is a scar on society. The sooner it is abolished, the better. So far, the government has only assisted the growth of the caste system by such acts as job reservation. This has resulted in the neglect of the so-called ‘forward castes.'
V Surendran Nair,
Though there are apprehensions about including a caste-based count of population in Census-2010, it will throw some light on how different their strength and status are now compared to the 1931Census. Can we deny the fact that the reservation benefits provided for in the Constitution for the uplift of the underprivileged are yet to help a majority of them? Today, a majority of the government programmes / schemes are designed to benefit the population, based on sex, religion and, more important, caste. We still rely on the interpolations of the last caste-based Census of 1931 which are, at best, guesstimates.
This is the right time carry out this exercise to obtain the right information.
Chidambar Rao Bhukya,
The article highlighted the complexities involved in caste data collection and its implications. Counting castes is not as simple as asking people which caste they belong to and adding up the total. The real danger is how different caste groups will react to the final data. It will certainly open a Pandora's box of claims and counter-claims. It is also likely that some groups may launch violent agitations to claim reservation benefits. Social unrest can make matters worse when internal security is facing serious threats from Maoists and terrorists.
The founding fathers of the Constitution intended reservation to continue for a limited period and that too restricted to certain sections of society knowing full well the divisive nature of caste-based politics. The reservation policy cannot continue indefinitely in the present form. If India has to claim its rightful place as an evolving knowledge society, a shift towards an income-based social affirmation policy will have to take place sooner or later. Perpetuating caste identities is in nobody's interest.