Thursday, May 13, 2010

the elephant in the room...

Does India need a caste based census?

Forget the implementation part, which would most certainly be challenging and error-prone. Just in principle, do you think it is a good idea?


ravptor said...

Absolutely. I would support getting as much information as possible including empowering the census rep to make an estimation on the economic condition of the individuals also.

The census should represent the truth - who we are, what we are and these are our numbers...

i said...

I guess there is truth in the accusation that all this - 'I shall refuse to give my caste. This will only deepen the rifts.' - is elitist luxury. Caste is a reality on ground and we all must accept that fact. The data collected might indeed be put to good use. Fair enough.

But then does it also sound the death bell on our hopes of seeing a day where caste will becomes irrelevant in this country?
Caste is an identity that is taken seriously in India. True. But it's a bad way of asserting one's identity. Anything that tells me I am superior or inferior by birth and by virtue of the house I am born in - must be bad.
Will this census then reinforce what is already a bad thing?

i said...

But then ofcouse, we are reinforcing it everytime -
we fill up the caste column in an application form.
people seek and give vote on the basis of their caste.
people marry within caste.
we ask someone their caste.

I am probably just wondering where the starting point will be for the utopion society where caste is rendered irrelevant. Part of our identity maybe but in no way the determining factor of what I want to do with my life.

ravptor said...

Is it really necessary to only get to that utopian state right away? Lofty goals are great but should we only say the aim has to be that high or else I don't care? Can we make small strides each time and get there when we can? After all, "arn't we like that only?!" ;)

Why can't we make caste irrelevant by being more open about it? Why can't I say I am "so-so", you are "so-so" shrug our shoulders and get on with building the country?

I have never filled a form that had a caste column but religion yes, but I am sure 5/10 times the guy opposite me was someone different to me only for that word in that column. Heck, am sure we looked the same to an undiscerning eye...

Let's get our numbers, minor denominations be dammed. if anything, we will know more to make educated decisions.

i said...

"Is it really necessary to only get to that utopian state right away?"
To hope for that would be impractical and bordering on naive. Thats why I said... "starting point".

"Why can't I say I am "so-so", you are "so-so" shrug our shoulders and get on with building the country?"

Precisely my point when I talked about caste being a part of the identity but not much else.

"Making educated decisions"
That is probably THE reason why I support it.

I think caste is more like "race" and less like "religion". (In terms of the discrimination)