After the release of caste census data in Bihar, it has now been considered an important tool of national electoral politics and especially the opposition alliance is seeing it as an effective issue in their favor.
In view of this, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has made it almost clear from his stand on this that the question of caste is going to be the most important issue for his party and alliance in the 2024 general elections.
On Tuesday, he termed the caste census as an ‘X-ray’ of the country and said it would highlight the condition of the Other Backward Classes, i.e. OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which are ‘affected ‘.
He also said that his party will force the central government to conduct this exercise.
In his new politics, Rahul Gandhi has made caste census a major issue and made it clear that he will emphasize on providing rights to the deprived social sections.
But the question is that as a result of making this issue the main center of politics, what new circumstances will arise in the country and society and how much real justice can be ensured in it?
It is true that caste has been a reality of Indian society and adequate participation of large social groups could not be ensured at the level of the entire power structure and system.
For this, the policies adopted by almost all the governments that have been in power since independence have been responsible, in which announcements were made to ensure the welfare of the entire public, but in practice, most of the society remained out of the scope of the real benefits of the public welfare schemes.
So now if Rahul Gandhi and his party are indicating to decide the direction of politics by keeping caste at the center, then is this also an admission of ‘mistakes’ committed by his party in the past?
If the purpose of caste-based census is implemented in the form of identifying the deprived social groups at every level and creating an inclusive system by investigating its reasons, then no one will disagree with it.
Any justice-loving person or group would want this. But if it is made a political tool, its result may be a further sharpening of social divisions.
All this is happening in a country that is embarking on the journey of the 21st century, at a time when perhaps all the sensitive people of all castes and classes would have the wish that the walls of caste should be broken and this system should end.
A generation is emerging in the cities and metros, which is neither ready to accept nor pay attention to the traditional scale of caste system in the context of any decision related to itself regarding personal life and future.
There is a need to further clean this new air, in which there is no place for prejudices and biases related to the inertia of caste and everyone welcomes justice-based participation.
This is the main responsibility of all the political parties of the country. But the sad thing is that on some pretext or the other, all the parties want to strengthen their political base by making caste the basis.
One cannot deny the efforts to ensure justice and participation for the deprived social sections.
But if the caste census or its data is used as a weapon to further strengthen the caste division, then it is not difficult to guess what kind of picture will be created in the future.