The Population Research Centre at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics celebrated World Population Day on 11 July 2022. Former Chief Election Commissioner Dr S Y Quraishi was the chief guest, and he spoke about certain popular myths about India’s population, especially those on religion-wise population. Watch it here.
The lecture was preceded by expert commentary by three social scientists: Dr Rajeshwari Deshpande from the Savitribai Phule Pune University, Dr P M Kulkarni who is a veteran demographer and a former Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor, and Dr R B Bhagat, Director of the Centre for Migration and Urban Studies at Indian Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai.
Each of the three social scientists presented their views not just on the caste census, but while doing that, their views on the existence of caste in India, too. Their brief speeches were followed by audience interaction.
Dr PM Kulkarni said that when it comes to caste census, the problem lies not in asking caste to a household, but in recording the caste, or its tabulation. He went on to highlight the importance of the caste census to India’s development.
Dr R B Bhagat said that because a comprehensive list of castes was not available in the socio-economic and caste census (2011), it did not do well against its objectives.
Dr Rajeshwari Deshpande mentioned two things: one was the affirmative action policy and the second was the legitimisation of caste by the state. She said that affirmative action policy was designed to ensure social justice, but it has got flattened to quotas and reservations. Among every caste, there is a class structure that includes a rich class, a middle class and the poor.
The discussion was moderated by Dr Prashant Banshee, the Dean of Faculty at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.