Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar Sunday said deleting the caste column from students’ school-leaving certificates could be an important step towards combating casteism in the country.
The grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar told The Indian Express, “Today, the RSS and the BJP are speaking about cultural nationalism. But I would like to throw an open challenge to them to make their position clear on the caste system.”
Ambedkar said, “I have, under the banner of social equality and justice, brought people from cross sections together against this evil. I am not using the party banner nor launching this campaign with any political motive.”
He said political parties were not willing to take a position against the caste system owing to vote-bank politics.
“Babasaheb in his last speech had laid a lot of stress on the necessity to get rid of casteism for national progress. However, political parties cannot take a categorical position against it as they have to guard their respective vote banks,” said Ambedkar.
Acknowledging that reservation in education and jobs for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes was originally meant for only a certain period of time to bring them on par with the mainstream, Ambedkar said, “Those who are seeking the end of quotas cannot be faulted. But my question to these people or groups is — what have you done to eliminate the menace in the country?”
In a year when mainstream political parties, such as the Congress and the BJP, are competing with each other to showcase a series of programmes on the life and achievements of Babasaheb, his grandson said, “ I don’t expect politicians to come forward in the campaign for a casteless society. But there is a sizeable middle- and upper-middle class population that can join the movement.”
In a jibe at the RSS and other Hindutva groups, Ambedkar said, “While right-wing organisations today are raking up the debate on cultural nationalism through slogans such as Vande Matram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai, it would be better if they also make efforts to delete the caste column from school-leaving certificates. Once students go out of educational institutes, why should their caste matter? The individual should be rewarded on merit.”
He added, “If we have students walking out in society without the caste tag of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Dalit or tribal, it would be the biggest tribute to Babasaheb.”
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