Caste no bar

So the census people visited my place when I was away. Rather, they were at my parents' place, and A and the kids were there, and by way of bizarre coincidence, I had called in so was part of a telephonic census.

My parents refused to name their caste, of course. Then it was A's turn. So he admits to being Muslim and is asked, "what caste?". Took him a while to convince the censustaker that Muslims don't have a caste.

Then my details were taken. And the census lady says I'll be put down as a Muslim because I'm married to one. Excuse me, I'm married to a man, so does that make me a man too? What rubbish! So I was indignantly frothing at the mouth and gibbering remarks and vituperations to A who was patiently, in his quiet yet forceful way trying to explain to said lady that I remained and would continue to remain a Hindu. And what of our three Mundus? Heaven - or rather the census officials only know.

I have little confidence in the ability of these guys and full expectations of having my identity in the identity number thing be a mangled mess that will never get sorted out because I'll be Muslim on that but my passport will show me as a Hindu and so on....

It totally annoys me that the state machinery, instead of being neutral, actually perpetuates the patriarchal society we live in through rules like this, that the wife automatically becomes the caste/ religion of the husband. Excuse me, but we do have brains capable of taking our own decisions and mouths capable of voicing those decisions. How dare anyone else apart from me decide my identity post marriage?

The state is only capable of making superficial gestures like the women's reservation bill, not actually doing anything to improve the lives of people or empower them. It's much easier than taking measures that would ensure that the existing laws themselves be implemented properly, that women be safe to work and come and go as they please without harassment from any average ram eve-teaser or Shriram sene goons, that women not be married off below the age of 18 and go on to have children before they become adults themselves, to ensure that girls get educated and get to make their voice heard. No, we live in the age of soppy governance, i.e. which temporary sop can I give to whom!


dipali said…
Totally disturbing:(
I refuse to fill up caste details myself. Let's see when the census takers reach us!
bird's eye view said…
The whole concept is so stupid, especially in the 21st century!

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