H C Singh

From Caste System to Caste Census-Implications

 Whether in 21st Century, India is determined to go forward to match and surpass other countries of the world or to go backward to and go down in the status, in comity of nation? Our government and people in 2010-11 thereafter are to decide. Whether perpetuation of caste system and inclusion of caste in the Census of 2011 will take India forward or to 19th-20th century or even in medieval times, in social set up.

There are only four castes in Hinduism viz Khatri, Brahm in Vaish and Shudar. It is well known that independent India’s constitution was framed mainly by Ambedkar, there was not only caste system but untouchability. The constitution of 1950 banned untouchability. This was first landmark in the creation of equality amongst all Indians. The next step was to ban caste system but the constitution gave just 15 years, to eliminate it by 1965, by improving economically their conditions. But unfortunately it was not implemented but extended time and again and worst part is that by including caste in the census of 2011 this will perpetuate caste system and legalize it.

Now, in addition, the Jats are insisting that they should be included in OBC’s ie other backward classes. Many Jats and Yadavs are rich and prosperous landlords and prominent, through higher education, than many of other so-called upper castes. They are holding high positions in Defence forces, civil services, business and business administration engineering and technology. Above all a number of Jats and Yadavs are Chief Ministers, Cabinet ministers and holding influential positions in politics of Centre and many states. Do they need benefits and reservations like other backward classes? Are the children of Hooda, Mulayam Singh, Badal and Lalu Prasad Yadav, to name a few, who are already ministers, or were Chief Ministers need reservations and special benefits?

How the caste census will operate amongst Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Budhists, Tribals and Parsees, Muslims have no caste system, there are only two sects, Shias and Sunnis. Christians also have no caste system, there are only Catholics and Protestants. Under Sikhism caste has been forbidden Kairon. Barnala and Badal and Dr Manmohan Singh never mentioned their caste. In Buddhists there is no caste system at all so is in Parsees. How all Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees as well as tribals will be asked to give their caste in the forthcoming census of 2011?

Educated Indians, in particular, all over the country must rise and oppose inclusion of caste in census. Thousands of crores of rupees which will be sheer wastage but could be used for the uplift or poor workers, landless labourers in villages and poor labourers in urban areas. It may further be understood that caste system, its perpetuation by caste census, will perpetuate ‘Khap’ politics and so called Honour Killings in Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. Recently a young girl killed her mother in Haryana in ‘Honour Killing’ bringing, in fact, dishonour to the entire family.

Enumeration of caste in census of 2011 seems to be ultravires to the 1950 constitution of Republic of India. The constitution highlights, democracy and equality and a casteless society where all Indian citizens are equal. However, the government should have done to raise the living standard of 35 percent poor Indians by setting up small industries in and around rural areas and their employment at reasonably good minimum wage. That was the way. But the present government followed absolutely wrong way which would take India backward. Even now people should appeal to Supreme Court for considerate advice or even decision whether inclusion of caste in 2011 census violates the constitution of India? If so it should disallow 2011 caste census.

This is such an issue which has far reaching consequences for the whole nation and for all the time to come. Manmohan Singh government instead of hastily deciding for enumeration of caste in 2011 census should have consulted the National integration Council. It is noteworthy and guiding principle, which India’s First Prime Minister advocated at the national integration council meeting attended by all the Chief Ministers that “help (to poor) should be given on economic considerations and not on caste.” This statement of Prime Minster Nehru should be a guiding principle of the government led by Manmohan Singh as PM and Sonia Gandhi as Congress and UPA president. They must not be led by narrow political considerations of vote bank politics and tarnish the image of ever rising India which is likely to be top ranking country in another 20 years, surpassing UK, other European countries and even USA.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Caste-ridden India – That is Bharat

After 60 years of 1950 constitution which abolished untouchability and ordained that reservations for SC and STs’ would be for only 15 years; it was felt that India would make progress in all fields – social, economic and political and India that is our Bharat will become a casteless society. Sardar Patel who was India’s first and best Home Minister had, besides supporting wholeheartedly India becoming a casteless society was opposed to reservations for so-called minorities. When some Muslim leaders had raised the question of reservation for Muslims in parliament Sardar rebuked them that India is a secular country and “those Muslims who want reservations can go to Pakistan”. It was then felt that in 15 years time there will be marked improvement in the living standards, education and employment of SC and STs’. But unfortunately our politicians and political parties did not pay any attention to these fundamental issues and were concerned with being in power or retaining power in politics. In 1964 India’s first PM Nehru died and thereafter there was struggle for Prime Ministership.

Thus in 1965 no politician bothered to think of or do anything for SC and STs’ so that there is marked improvement in their condition in society. It is unfortunate that politicians and political parties who have ruled India for the last 60 years, for political reasons and for political power more and more castes were being included for reservation, in particular the OBC’s. Thus instead of India becoming casteless society, today India is a caste-ridden society, a democracy in name only because democracy’s main features are equality of all citizens, no discrimination of any sort of Caste or Status.

How and why there has been deterioration in social, political and economic spheres during last 60 years? Why India, our Bharat, instead of going forward is going backward? Who are responsible for this reversal?

There are about 2000 castes of OBC’s in central list, though each State has a list of its OBC’s. There are some professions like that of Dhobi (washer man) which are SC’s in States of West Bengal, Bihar, UP and Rajasthan but are included in the list of OBC’s in Maharashtra. How can SC’s and OBC’s be considered one. There can be some other castes, particularly in Tamilnadu which may be SC’s there but OBC’s in other southern States or vice versa. How can OBC’s of all 2000 castes be considered backward when some are big landlords and prosperous businessmen or professionals. For example Badal of Punjab who is Chief Minister and his son Dy.Chief Minister can be OBC’s entitled to concessions. Similarly Hooda and Chautala of Haryana present and former Chief Ministers can come under reserved categories. The case of both Yadavas is similar. They have been ruling one State or other. There are many so-called other backward class (OBC’s) cabinet Ministers and Ministers in many States. There are Jats who are holding high position in Civil services, information technology, professors and principals as well as vice chancellors.

There have been occasionally murders, killing because of ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s objection to marriages in same gotra though same gotra marriages were declared legal in 1945 by Bombay High Court. This judgement is of great significance which has since been ignored though it was much before the codification of Hindu Code Bill. It is unfortunate that to gain political support former Chief Minister of Hariyana, Om Prakash Chautala and Congress MP Jindal are supporting the ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s ideology and actions and even want legal support. If somehow ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s get legal support this will mean, that our judicial system of justice will have no jurisdiction in ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s and thereafter in all Panchayets all over India though gotra politics is medieval : that will take India much more backward.

Latest unfortunate and ill-considered action of UPA-II government is inclusion of caste in 2011 census without bothering about its implications. Central leadership seems to have succumbed to pressure, particularly from two Yadavas, and allies. There are thousands of castes and tens of thousands sub castes. How these will be coordinated into four major castes? Moreover there are millions of citizens who don’t believe in caste system and do not and would not like to mention their caste for the census. There are 18,000 categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes listed in 2001 census.

 If India is to be a progressive and modern democracy it take steps, though 45 years late, to end caste system by 2025 so that India is determined to move forward and not backward. If a constitutional amendment is required, just as provision in 1950 Constitution that must be enacted. For this all parties must sink their differences and rise so that India advances like Christian dominated countries where there is no caste system at all. Even Muslim countries who have their problem of Burqa, have no caste system, thus no discrimination, all citizens being equal.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion | , , , , , | 2 Comments