No caste, religion for this family

When Kotagiri residents, R. Selvakumar and his wife Indirani tried to get their three children admitted to school with a clear mission of proudly proclaiming that they neither belonged to any caste or religion, they faced a number of hurdles from school authorities. “However, these experiences and battles were extremely enjoyable, as we were fighting for something we believed in, and taught us a lot about society,” said Mr. Selvakumar.

Being staunchly anti-caste and anti-religion, the couple insisted that when their three children – Sugadev, Rajguru and Bhagatsingh joined school in Kotagiri, the school authorities maintain the records in line with their beliefs.

“In the caste and religion columns, we only mentioned that our children are Indian and nothing else,” said Mr. Selvakumar, who runs a fruit stall in Kotagiri town. His eldest son, Sugadev, serves in the Indian army, while his two younger sons, aged 17 and 22 respectively are studying.

Selvakumar has named his three sons after Indian revolutionaries and freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar. Their initials, too, are the combination of both the names of Selvakumar and Indirani.

“When we were pressured by people asking why we didn’t disclose our caste or religion, I would simply reply that an American or a Japanese person refers to themselves as such. Why do you have a problem with me referring to myself as an Indian?,” he asked.

Recently, Mr. Selvakumar managed to get certificates issued by the local tahsildar that all three of his sons do not belong to any religion or caste.

He said that he hopes that such a gesture will also help other people to move past cast, creed or religion. “Caste and religion are relatively new constructs, which have plagued our society. Only if we move past them, can we build a better, more coherent, unified society,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 5:32:11 AM |

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