ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caste Census

While the censuses in colonial India categorised and enumerated the various castes, the censuses in independent India only enumerate the population of castes and tribes according to the central government list. With the Supreme Court requiring fresh data on the other backward classes, how will the identification of the OBC from the 4,000 castes in the country be undertaken?

Caste Census

Looking Back, Looking Forward

While the censuses in colonial India categorised and enumerated the various castes, the censuses in independent India only enumerate the population of castes and tribes according to the central government list. With the Supreme Court requiring fresh data on the other backward classes, how will the identification of the OBC from the 4,000 castes in the country be undertaken?

R B BHAGAT

 

C
aste-based census, which was discontinued after 1931, has now turned out to be a controversial issue. The Supreme Court recently stayed the reservation of seats in central educational institutions promulgated by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 and providing for 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs). The court held that the 1931 Census could not be a determinative factor for providing reservation to the OBCs, and asked the central government to determine who are socially and economically backward. This has led many to plead for a caste census on the lines of the population census. This article attempts to present the changing practice of caste enumeration and their categorisation in censuses of both British and independent India and the nature of the engagement of the state in the construction of caste identities in the country.

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