By Syed Ali Mujtaba
The caste census data of 2011 that is likely to be released by the government is eagerly awaited by the people of the country.
The reason being the ballot box democracy based electoral politics has generated huge interests in this data.
The symmetry of primordial loyalties based on caste provides is a readymade glue for the alignment of such identities.
To put it in simple words, the census data may reveal how many Brahims, Rajputs and Bhumiyars etc are there in the country? What is the level of their development and where they stand in social order today?
If that may be the case, this data may be something really startling and eye opener for the countrymen. It may lead to realignment of castes on local, regional and national level. It may script a new paradigm of electoral arithmetic in the country.
This caste matrix in India is a huge puzzle. To peel each of its layers will generate its own allied layers and the subsequent fall out. Even though there maybe caste similarities but there could huge differences within the same caste group.
The Brahmins of Bihar, ‘Jha’s and Ojha’s’, are on totally different plane when compared with the Kashmiri Brahmins or the Bhadralok of West Bengal or the Aiyers and Ayangars of Tamil Nadu.
There are many caste which are dominant in one region of the country but are totally marginalized in other parts of India. For example, Yadavs are the ruling caste in Bihar and UP but this caste is totally marginalized in Tamil Nadu.
The caste data may trigger the search of lost caste living in other states in India with altogether different profile. It may also lead to the search of those caste that are on verge of extinction. It may evoke may other such interests on a pan India scale.
According to reports the central government is waiting for the Bihar elections to get over and then open up this Pandora box.
When they do so there is going to be a huge churning out process in the social matrix of the country.
The whole country will be on boil engaged in solving the puzzle “Bule ki Jan Main Kaun.”
During India’s freedom struggle, the issue was raised by the British in the 1930’s when they wanted to organize India on the basis of its castes.
In their scheme of things India is made of jumble mumble societies a graveyard on nationalities and it’s the castes that make up India. They felt the development of caste categories can really help to develop the people of India.
In the British vision the caste identity should be solidified and the caste groups be allowed to be cemented into the electoral block. It is only then the real development of the people can happen in India.
Our freedom fighters negated this idea tooth and nail. They said any such ideas negated the Indian identity and was a ploy to delay the freedom of the country.
There were some forces who had their own interpretation and differed from Indian nationalist’s ideas and those of the British. Well that’s the story of struggle for Pakistan.
Here in hand is the story how the caste census data of 2011 if and when released, will be taken up by the countrymen. How the politicians are going to use it for their own purposes?
The release of Caste census data is sure to trigger another round of Mandal agitation. It has all the ammunitions to take Indian in the mid ocean and ignite the fire on the board.
The Patel agitation in Gujarat has given a wakeup call on this issue. When other categories will come to know their status they too will follow the suit. It is a sure recipe for mass agitation.
When the revelation of the caste identity is really known to the categories of the people, India is sure to burn at different places.
In such case what will happen to vision and mission of our great Prime Minister. What will happen to his vision of ‘Ache Din’ and ‘Ram Raj’?
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai.He can be contacted at[email protected]