A step towards secular India

indian national flag

In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman achieved her dream of obtaining ‘No Caste No Religion’ certificate through persistent struggle. This incident is a significant one. Some colleges in West Bengal have also introduced ‘humanity’, ‘agnostic’ , ‘secular’ or ‘non-religious’ in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith. (West Bengal colleges turn liberal over religion , Hans News Service, 3 June 2019, thehansindia.com). Such significant steps go a long way in creating progressive ideas among educated as well as ordinary people in the country.

On February 5 , 2019, Snegha Parthibaraja, a Tamil Nadu woman became what revenue officials call the first Indian woman to be issued a ‘ no caste no religion certificate’ .( Sneha: First Indian woman to get ‘no caste no religion’ certificate, by Shalini Verma, February 17, 2019,awaaznation.com). According to a report filed by Serena Josephine M for ‘ The Hindu’, Sneha’s parents too had left columns of caste and religion blank in application forms whenever they filled them. But their daughter Sneha took the step to make this part of her identity ‘official’.

Long struggle

Sneha, an advocate, has been trying for the certificate since 2010. “I started to apply for a ( no religion no caste) certificate in 2010 but officials kept rejecting it for some reason Some said there was no precedent in the country….”the daily quoted her as saying. But from 2017, she stood firmly on her decision and explained to the officials on her stand and justified her intentions.

B. Priyanka Pankajam , the sub-collector of Tirupattur told ‘The Hindu’ that they decided to give the certificate to Sneha after verifying all her documents and finding the caste and religion columns blank.( TN Woman’s Fight For India’s 1st ‘ No Caste No Religion is Crushing Stereotypes! By TBI team , June 18 2019, thebetterindia.com). A community certificate or a caste certificate is a record issued by state government which gives information that a particular person belongs to a particular community like SC, ST or OBC: in its place, she obtained the ‘No Caste No Religion’ certificate. Even her two sisters Jennifer and Mumtaz are identified as Indians without caste or religion.

In an interview to Vanita TV channel, the First Women – centric channel by Rachana Television (Telugu), Published on September 4 2019, Sneha explains the struggles for a casteless and reliless society since Marx and Ambedkar and Periyar. She says that this is a victory of ideology. (Sneha Parthibaraja Exclusive Interview | She Gets No…. https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbxbvLZdEdg). She has struggled for about nine years to achieve her goal.

Need of the hour

In a country where caste system is deep-rooted in society and religious hatred is on the rise, progressive thinking is the need of the hour. For a better society, caste system and religious hatred should be annihilated at the earliest.

Even a division bench of high court in Chennai has refused to remove the inscription – there is no God… – at the pedestals of Periyar statue across the state. (Atheists have right to their own opinion: Madras High Court, by Siva Sekaran, www.msn.com). In their 68 page order, the bench said that Periyar’s philosophy was the cause of movement for self respect of the downtrodden classes of society.

Such positive instances enhance the secular and socialist fabric of our country

Sheshu Babu is a political commentator




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