Census Caste Debate

As India wrestles with the politically-sensitive question of including caste in its 2011 census, P. Sainath looks at a once strong anti-caste reform movement.

As India wrestles with the politically-sensitive question of including caste in its 2011 census, P. Sainath looks at the dwindling membership of a once strong anti-caste reform movement. The remaining followers of the Ajaat ("ones without caste") movement have become something like a caste themselves in a society where "caste is in everything". That some of them say they will call themselves "Indian" if asked about caste in a Census reflects the dilemmas for Census drafters, who must capture "the huge diversity, location-specific nature, and the many other complexities of caste", says one economist.

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