Nandini Sundar – Will counting caste reduce inequality?

Nandini Sundar’s recent Op-Ed for The Hindu on caste-enumeration in the latest round of the census. Read the entire article here.

But come back with your comments – what do you think about caste–enumeration?

Yesterday when the census enumerator visited, I asked him how he felt about the current debate on counting caste in the census: “Not comfortable at all”, he said, “I don’t even like asking whether someone is SC/ST or Other, leave alone what their caste is.” But, he added, “caste is an inescapable reality of Indian society.”

The debate on counting caste in the census has not moved on from 2001, when opinion was equally divided. Supporters of caste enumeration argue that census categories merely reflect existing classifications, and that only the census can provide the figures necessary to map inequality by caste. Opponents argue that the census does not mirror but actively produces social classifications and ways of thinking. They point to the history of mobilisation around caste in the census and the consequent dangers of both distorted data and increased social tensions. In neither case has much thought been given to how the data might be used, the different kinds of figures needed for different purposes, or alternative ways of collecting the required data. Read the rest of the article here

5 thoughts on “Nandini Sundar – Will counting caste reduce inequality?”

  1. when caste based regiments are in India why hindus are hiding caste based enumeration.problems with hindus led government and hindu led medias who constitutes only 15% but taking all India resources on their tummy, so after caste based enumeration a clear picture will appear on Indian horizon where 15% people can see their real face and dalits and OBCs will get rid of vampire sqids who are using their arms to jamming the blood flow to OBCS and dalits body.All credit goes to triple Yadavs and Mayawati who made weak congress government to walk on their knees but dalits and OBCs should keep eyes on hindu burecracy who are eating butter in hindu led government and affraid of caste based enumeration.


  2. I was wondering how can Nandini Sundar, a famous sociologist that too, not understand the significance of caste in Indian socio-political life. She was just reiterating the mainstream media arguments, or rather (low)caste-phobic rhetorics. After reading many favourable comments supporting her argument, I realise that when we turn modernists, ‘caste’ looks so ugly. Little wonder, nobody bothered to post Yogendra Yadav’s article in the Hindu- “why caste should be counted in”. As he argued rightly, if counting religious populations has not undone our secular fabric, then why are we so afraid of counting caste? Why can’t a sociologist understand the significance of objective data on various social groups?


  3. ignoring caste will not make it go away caste is a reality in India whether we like it or not .At least one thing encouraging is the admission by enumerator that it is uncomfortable to ask the caste q this is an encouraging trend.this wud not have been the case a couple of decades ago.Maybe a time will come when you would simply feel rdiculous to ask the quest.


  4. I think the time is pretty much here, i think this generation doesn’t really ponder much about the caste of people..only when that caste issue is affecting someone’s career, or ability to earn, is it a problem. The reservations for the so-called “underprivileged” class anger the masses, because the system functions in a weird way. Instead of taking into account a person’s economic status, it is simply satisfied with a caste certificate, no matter how irrelevant or fake it might be.
    Anyways, not to divert from the topic, yes, we are ashamed to talk about “caste” as such. Because, modernism tells us that everyone is the more we educate ourselves, the more we become aware of the caste system, its advantages and disadvantages, the more uncomfortable we become to talk about it, almost like sex. Its strange because we educate ourselves to be open minded, but rather, the contrary happens.
    In our country, caste is inseparable, no matter how much we despise it. The day people of India are not categorised on the basis of caste, caste will cease to exist. There are hopes for that in the near future, atleast in the urban society.


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