Caste was imposed by the Britishers, and this is a proven fact. But independent India is witnessing a brutal picture of caste hierarchy. The main reason behind the perpetuating caste divide is the politics of India that thrives on the basis of divides like caste and regionalism among others. The hierarchy ingrained within the society by the Britishers have been kept alive by the political parties of India especially the regional ones at that. And the push for ‘Caste-Census’ in Bihar stands in deposition for the same.
Go ahead for caste census in Nitish’s Bihar
Nitish Kumar, the man who has failed to conquer the hearts of people has been single-handedly pushing for caste census in the state of Bihar. He had earlier announced that he will bring all political parties on a single table to decide and discuss the modalities of caste census in the state. And he has registered a victory on that front.
On June 1, an all-party meeting was organised in Bihar chaired by state CM Nitish Kumar. The parties that have representation in the state legislature attended the meeting and unanimously decided in favour of the caste based census. In progression to this, the state cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal of the general administration department (GAD) for conducting caste census by February next year.
Read More-All ‘casteist’ and ‘secular’ parties are asking for caste census: The aim is to weaken Hindu unity
Caste Census in Bihar by February next year
If media reports are to believed, the mega exercise could start very soon and the ones involved in it will be imparted proper training and the reports will be published soon.
While speaking to the media, the Bihar CM said, “It was unanimously decided to conduct caste-based census and it will be soon after the proposal was placed in the Cabinet. It will be a time-bound exercise and each and every detail of caste, sub-castes, community and religion will be taken care of for the development of all sections of people.”
According to Amir Suhani, the chief secretary, for the conduction of caste based census and economic enumeration the state’s resources will be used. It would entail an expenditure of RS 500 Crore, which would be sourced from state’s contingency fund.
Read More- Caste census is a ploy to break Hindu vote bloc into pre-2014 caste groups
Another push by CM Nitish Kumar
This is not the first time that a regional party is pushing for caste-based census. Also, Nitish Kumar has faced the light of the day earlier too. Several efforts have been put in by Nitish Kumar for the caste-based population counting. Bihar legislature has twice passed resolutions for a caste-based census, however, the central government had rejected their plea.
An 11-member all-party delegation had also met PM Modi in order to put forward the demand of caste-based population counting. However, the final outcome had been that the central government had rejected their demand and called it a “divisive exercise” and had stated “states can hold caste census on their own. He had also remarked that once the state of Bihar is successful in setting the precedence, the other states may follow the suit.
Caste Census: A poison spreading very fast
The thing feared has happened. After Bihar, clamour for caste-based census is growing in Maharashtra. One of the allies in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, NCP has renewed the pitch for Caste based census in the state.
Read More- Caste Census: The war cry of the broken, beaten and dead regional parties
On the face of it, it seems that the main argument behind the demand of caste based census is that it will help strengthen the social security net by categorising beneficiaries in different folds. However, there is political twist in the noble cause.
After the rise in the stature of PM Modi, the regional parties have started to disappear from the political ecosystem of India. The main reason behind this is the seizure of caste-based politics and targeted beneficiary schemes. Welfare schemes not targeting individuals based on their caste, religion has played a key role in it.
And to save themselves from going extinct, the regional parties have resorted to caste census, apt to say ‘voter-census’. As the fundamental principle of the existence of regional parties is ‘Caste’. RJD and SP are known for catering to the Yadavs in their respective states. Politicians like Mamata Banerjee, Jagan Mohan Reddy and MK Stalin are busy strengthening casteism in their Muslim and Christian vote banks. Hence, it becomes for leaders like these to demand something as divisive as caste census. No matter how fatal they prove to be in the long run.