Thursday, June 24, 2010

FW: {satyapravah} Caste has no relevance these days: MG Vaidya


Caste has no relevance these days: MG Vaidya
http://www.dnaindia .com/mumbai/ interview_ caste-has- no-relevance- these-days- mg-vaidya_ 1400065
Kiran Tare                                                                           Wednesday, June 23, 2010 0:31 IST
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has approached spiritual leaders to appeal to their followers not to mention their caste in the second phase of the census. The organisation is also trying to launch a national forum to oppose the caste-based census. Senior RSS functionary MG Vaidya spoke to DNA
regarding the organisation' s stand and the politics behind the issue.
Why is the RSS opposing a caste-based census?
Caste has no relevance today. We support the policy that allows facilities and reservation to economically weaker sections, but not reservation based on caste. We have no objection if caste in mentioned in the census, but that should not be used for political purposes. I fear that once such a census is approved there will be a demand to reserve constituencies on the basis of caste. It will divide society and the country.
How do you justify your opposition?
Though the caste-based census was stopped in 1931, the opposition to this practice had begun in 1911 itself. A British officer had mentioned in his report that the so-called lower caste was trying to register itself as upper caste. Till date we have no mechanism to verify caste. I fear now people from higher castes will try to register themselves as lower castes to get the benefit of reservation.
Major political parties are in favour of a caste-based census…
I see confusion in two major political parties, Congress and BJP, over the issue. There is no way to understand what their stand is. A Congress MP Ajay Makan has openly told the party's MPs to oppose the move. BJP's deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde demanded the caste-based census, but did not get any party support. I sought clarification from the BJP on the issue, but did not get an answer. Manmohan Singh can ask a GoM to give an early report on the Bhopal gas tragedy. Is the caste issue not important for him?
How do you view Bhujbal and Munde joining hands on this issue?
Whether it is Chhagan Bhujbal, Gopinath Munde, Lalu Prasad or Mulayam Singh, none of them have won the election from a reserved constituency. They are trying to make room for themselves where they could bargain politically in future. Munde said the followers of Manu are opposing the caste-based census. In fact, it is those who do not want society to progress who are demanding a caste-based census.
The BJP claims that OBC is their base. Don't you see political mileage for them on the issue?
If the OBC is their base they will get votes from them. There is no need to have an OBC count. We must understand that the Constitution describes OBC as Other Backward Classes, but some people for their narrow-minded politics have changed it to Other Backward Castes. Talking about BJP, there are few people like Shobha Phadanvis who have consistently won elections despite the caste combination in her constituency. If you work for the people they will give you votes irrespective of your caste.
How does RSS plan to stop the caste-based census?
We are trying to get a consensus among all spiritual leaders. Nischalanand Maharaj has already declared his opposition to it. We will soon approach other leaders. Even if the government decides to include a caste column in the census form, we will appeal to the people to mention Indian as their caste in the column. 

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