Tag Archives: Census

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