Do you think caste-based census needs to be resumed? Or will it just
lead to an increase in casteism and conflict?
Thursday, May 6, 2010 12:34 IST
The demand for restoration of caste-based census has got a boost with
members of the Union Cabinet making a forceful pitch for the
enumeration of OBCs (other backward classes) nationally. Among those
arguing strongly for the return of caste census are OBC faces such as
law minister M Veerappa Moily, minister for overseas affairs Vayalar
Ravi, telecom minister Andimuthu Raja and fertiliser minister MK
The development came after a strong demand in Parliament for revival
of caste census. The BJP and the left parties joined OBC leaders
Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad, and Sharad Yadav in demanding that
caste be brought back as a census criterion.
The last census to enumerate caste was in 1931, when the British were
ruling India and Lord Irwin was the viceroy. There was no census in
1941, thanks to the Second World War. After independence, India's
founding fathers decided to do away with caste as a census criterion
because of their desire to build a casteless society.
Now politicians, particularly from the OBCs, are demanding resumption
of caste enumeration in the census. In fact, they want it done in the
exercise that is already under way. They say the reality of caste in
India cannot be wished away and enumerating caste would help in
implementation of many policies based on caste, such as reservation in
education and employment.
But those opposed to such a census say the dream of a casteless social
order should not be given up and efforts should be made to weaken the
caste structure based on oppression of those at the bottom of the
Do you think it is time to revive caste-based census? Or will it
merely worsen the divide in society?
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