RJD leader Manoj Kumar Jha and JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told News18.com in an exclusive joint interview, the demand for a caste-based census is above and beyond electoral politics. He said that this exercise is necessary to assess which sections have benefited in the 75 years since independence.
Rajya Sabha MP Jha said the central government is refusing to conduct a caste-based census as the numbers would fuel the demand for reservation in the private category. Meanwhile, former Rajya Sabha member Tyagi scoffed at the idea that such a census would encourage casteism.
The government affidavit states that the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) is not possible due to administrative reasons.
Manoj Jha: If today’s government tells you that such an exercise is not possible, it is a classic case of double talk. In the beginning, did we think we would be able to vaccinate so many people? And especially on the birthday of the Prime Minister, the record dose was achieved… The same government says that census on the basis of caste is not possible.
K C Tyagi: We are very worried and worried. How can caste based census be rejected as impractical? Was National Register of Citizens (NRC) possible? It was a massive exercise, everything about every person in Assam was tested; Their house number, date of birth, job etc. The papers were drawn up… was that all possible?
The government has cited the 1951 policy in the affidavit. It said: “The caste-wise enumeration in the Census has been abandoned as a policy since 1951. In pursuance of this policy decision, castes other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have not been counted in all censuses since 1951…” Is this sufficient as a determining factor for non-disclosure of data?
Manoj Jha: In the affidavit, he also cited non-enumeration of castes since 1951 as a conscious decision. Which conscious decision is this? Does the nation state not develop over a period of time? The country was only four years old at the time this policy was decided. It is now 75 years old. Shouldn’t the citizens know who benefited in these seven decades and what was the road to development, at whose cost? Every report tells you that inequality is on the rise in this country and it will be an unbroken gap.
K C Tyagi: All these justifications stem from the anti-backward mindset. The first census in 1931 was an exercise in colonial rule and feudal society. A lot has happened since then. There were socially and emotionally injured backward castes who were attached to upper caste identity for acceptance; Like Kalyan Singh’s Lodh Rajput or Nitish Kumar’s Kurmi Kshatriya Sabha. After 75 years of independence, the country and civil society need to know what happened in the matter of empowerment of socially backward people.
Why do you think the denial has been through affidavit?
Manoj K Jha: The government is openly lying about the non-counting of OBCs because they are afraid of numbers as it will not just be numbers but will explain the human tragedy behind them.
This is the highest stage of affirmative action that will disturb the status quo. Noise expected. Look at our entire reservation system which gets its legitimacy from the constitution. It gives reservation to backward, SC and ST in public employment. Now tell where is the employment of the public? The government is going towards privatization, the job of the exploited will be lost. That’s why we need reservation in private sector. There is data available on how the private sector should reflect the diversity of this country. It should have a basic minimum representation.
K C Tyagi: The percentage of backward is going to be more than 55%, which will then fuel the demand for removal of 50% reservation limit. Ridge will be The new data will pave the way for a new leadership, and this segment will lead to the emergence of new entrants in the judiciary and bureaucracy. Not everyone will be happy with this.
Look at the impact of the New Economic Policy. Disinvestment has increased and the government is following a public-private partnership model which is not in favor of employment of the backward. Seats are still vacant in the reserved categories of government-aided universities. Disinvestment will increase the demand for reservation in the private sector.
There is OBC reservation in all India quota medical seats. The states have got the right to decide the OBC list. But caste based census is seen as promoting casteism…
Manoj K Jha: There are two ways to view it. One is symbolism and the other is sufficient. This government is a master craftsman of symbolism, but it is hollow. OBC reservation in All India quota was not a donation by this government, it was long pending. Whenever the ministry is expanded, OBC castes are discussed. All this is good for symbolism, but there must be a caste-based census to have a meaningful effect.
K C Tyagi: Will caste-based census lead to casteism? Really? Whenever an OBC person comes to the cabinet, hoardings are put up everywhere that how many OBCs are there in the cabinet. Racism is the basis of cement. It is, but if we were to remove it, would it lead to racism? There was a judge in this country who said in Bhanwari Devi rape case that how can a Brahmin rape a Dalit, he is an untouchable…
How do you think denial of disclosure will affect the BJP, especially when several assembly elections are around the corner? What does this mean for the NDA in Bihar?
Manoj K Jha: I don’t want to link census with elections. The demand is coming from the party line. This is not a party demand. It is being made in the spirit of the Preamble… “We the People of India”. Let’s look at this as BR Ambedkar’s fight against hierarchical inequality, which is a product of the Indian caste system. It only has to be viewed in the larger context politically, where power is about retaining power for a few. RJD is here to empower the powerless.
K C Tyagi: Elections are due in five states in the coming months. I’m worried With regard to Uttar Pradesh, let me remind you that it was a special corner for the social justice movement.
This government has seen data on how OBCs voted for BJP in various state and general elections. The backward classes in Bihar are divided into two parts – one dominated by Lalu Prasad Yadav, and the other, a weaker section, led by Nitish Kumar. But there is no such thing in UP. There is a non-Yadav fluctuating vote which could benefit the SP and BSP due to their refusal to disclose the caste-census data.
Remember the Jayaprakash Narayan movement when no one thought that the Congress could be thrown out. But what happened after all? BJP government should learn from that incident and not test it Edge. There are many people here who see this caste based census as Mandal 2.0. The fear is because today no one can raise questions on the Mandal Commission. Rajiv Gandhi drank six glasses of water in the House while giving a speech against the Mandal Commission report. Us din ki mari, Congress abhi tak zinda nahi hui hai (Congress still hasn’t recovered from the setback).
What do you have to say about the sub-categorization of OBCs in the absence of census data?
Manoj K Jha: Subclassing is a fun exercise! Do you have complete data to do this exercise? All this is being done on the basis of myths and WhatsApp forwards. I think they need good counselors, and they should look for anthropologists who can help with the practice of caste-based census. The Mandal commission was directed by anthropologists. Who in the district calls himself Sharma? It’s basic, and an anthropologist will know.
K C Tyagi: Justice Rohini Commission got so many extensions. It shows anti-backward mentality. Study of 27% quota of OBC should be made public.