Why does Indian society not want to come out of the trap of caste?


It is a coincidence that when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, casteist politics has intensified in the name of caste census. In such a situation, it is natural to raise the question that why does this caste not go away? What did our freedom fighters think about this? The first census of independent India was conducted in 1951. Earlier, the country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had clearly said in 1950 that castes were not going to be counted and there would never be a caste census in future. After him, HM Patel, YB Chavan and Giani Zail Singh became Union Home Ministers. Bihar leader BP Mandal had written letters to these three Home Ministers demanding enumeration of castes, but no one thought it appropriate to reverse Patel’s decision. In this context, Mahatma Gandhi’s article can be mentioned, which was published in the May 1, 1930 issue of ‘Young India’. In this, Gandhiji has written, ‘There can be no place for discrimination on the basis of caste and religion in my, ours and my own people’s Swaraj. Swaraj will be for everyone, for everyone’s welfare.

The Constituent Assembly also took note of this sentiment of Bapu. But after independence, as the politics of caste mobilization intensified, the impact of these words of Bapu started decreasing. Every caste started dreaming of becoming stronger within its own political fold. The politics of caste mobilization started finding its way in the caste based census. Not surprisingly, BP Mandal, which presented a report on the condition of backward classes in 1980, also put forward this demand. It is another matter that the then Home Minister Giani Zail Singh had rejected it. The census conducted by the British in 1931 was also based on spreading caste animosity. After independence, when preparations were being made for the 1951 census, the demand for caste census also arose. But the then Home Minister Sardar Patel rejected it. Patel had said, ‘Caste census can spoil the social fabric of the country.’ It was also supported by the then Prime Minister Nehru, Dr. BR Ambedkar and Maulana Azad. Earlier, in a debate in the Constituent Assembly, Patel had rejected the demand for caste-based reservation, expressing his intention to move forward according to Gandhiji’s ideas. The Indian independence movement was not just a political movement. It also contained values ​​of social reform. There was no scope for casteism in the future India that the freedom fighters dreamed of. Everyone was equal before the constitution and law. However, as the politics of socialist stream progressed after independence, it indirectly continued promoting casteist politics. Dr. Lohia used to talk about breaking caste, but his followers accepted his slogan superficially. Lohia believed that once economic equality was achieved, not only would the caste system end but social equality would also be established.

When the recommendations of the Mandal Commission were implemented, caste politics saw an opportunity for itself in it. Every caste started strengthening its shell to gain political rights. It is a paradox that the non-Congress government that emerged from the Jaiprakash movement formed the Mandal Commission. During the same movement, in a meeting held in Jaiprakash Narayan’s village Sitabadiyara in 1974, a proposal was passed to make serious efforts towards breaking the caste system. . Then Jayaprakash had given the slogan, ‘Leave caste, break the sacred thread, connect man with man.’ After the formation of the Janata Party government, these efforts should have gained momentum, but this did not happen. Because most of the followers of the politics that talks about breaking castes were seeing their future in the consolidation of castes. Chandrashekhar was aware of this, hence he expressed apprehension to Jayaprakash that in the coming days the agitators would be recognized as the leaders of their respective castes. Babu Kanshiram gave a more aggressive form to caste mobilization. His slogan was, ‘Whose number is greater, his share is greater.’

The insistence on the current caste census is also an extension of this thinking. The argument for this is that it will be possible to achieve social justice. Whereas the reality is that the total number of backward castes in the central list is 2633. If there is a caste based census in the country, then these castes will start strengthening their own shells because the leaders of all these castes will expect maximum share. It is not difficult to predict what will happen to the ideal situation of national unity, social harmony, communal harmony etc. during caste mobilization. It is surprising that in the casteist horns of Lohia leaders like Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, now mixed voices of Congress are also heard, this is the same Congress whose leaders Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had ever conducted caste census. Said to be dangerous. The casteist politics of a national party like Congress will prove fatal for the country and society.

– Rakesh Sain

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