On the 120th birth anniversary of Baba Sahib B R Ambedkar what could be a better tribute than a section of society that included students, businessmen and government officials dropping their surnames to contribute towards making society casteless. Naushad Ali Khan became Naushad Gandhi; Bharat Bhushan Sharma changed his name to Bharat Bhushan Bhartiya. Dr Sidharth Chaudhry chose to be called just Sidharath. The members of the group took an oath before Baba Sahib’s statue that they will drop their caste forever. Is it beginning of a movement? It could be if right thinking people support it.
If a foreigner is asked to name one major flaw in Indian society, he will without much thinking point out its caste based system. Caste system continues to dominate our lives even after 62 years of independence. Be it in office, business circle or our day to day life situation, we are known by our caste, our first name hardly matters to others. Jobs and education in our country are obtained on the basis of caste. Jaati vaad has kept peopleof our country divided for ages and has been the reason for gruesome fights between upper and lower caste groups over the years.
“What is in a name? That which we call rose
By any name would smell as sweet”
Shakespeare’s couplet is not only for rose, it is true for human being as well. We can call a person by any name but his human identity will not change. While one section of society has risen to the occasion to spread the message of casteless society, our government has given approval for caste based census. Ashish Bose, India’s best known demographer has said “the caste census being done by the government as part of the overall exercise to understand country’s demography is a retrograde step. It would bring issues of caste and casteism to the forefront.” Politicians’ intent on building vote banks on the basis of caste can be discerned from this exercise. Government plea that caste information is necessary for equitable distribution of quota is not tenable.
The movement for casteless society initiated by a section of people should be strengthened to rid the country of ages old malice.