Monday, July 12, 2010

Caste Census

The GOM is debating on the issue of Caste census.

The strongest argument for caste census is that it will help in targeting development at specific social groups. This argument appears flawed as social classes no longer seem to be caste based. The so called BCs / OBCs / MBCs are equally if not more powerful - politically , economically and socially - as the groups that earlier prided themselves as forward castes. Differences that persist still , can get eliminated in time with education , development and increased awareness and the existing affirmative action structures are , to my mind adequate for this purpose.

The only significant difference that exists today is between the Dalits and the Non Dalits - and this marked difference certainly needs to be worked on. It is highly disconcerting that the so called backward classes have successfully and diligently learned the art of discrimination from the (erstwhile ?) forward castes - and Dalits these days are victimized largely by the so called backward castes.

The Dalits who have for ages been victims of untouchability and physical separation certainly need enhanced affirmative action - but that should not be extended to the other castes. It is indeed a sad state today that groups vie with each other to be classified as backward to move forward.

A caste based census for enumerating the so called backward classes - particularly on the basis of declaration will serve only one class - that of the ruling political class, which will be able to take on focused activities to develop specific caste based vote banks !