In times when our society is at a risk of communal divide like never before, students in Kerala are setting out an example for everyone. Nearly 1.24 lakh students in Kerala have left the caste and religion columns empty in admission forms of state’s schools. According to an article in The Indian Express, in an ongoing session of State Assembly, education minister C Raveendranath announced that 1,23,630 students between classes 1  and 10 for 2017-2018 session stated they had no caste or religion. While no district or region wise break up of this data is available, these figures were collected from some 9,000 private and government schools in the state.

Progressive thinking is the need of the hour

Ending the divide of caste and religion especially in places of education and work is becoming increasingly essential in our country. It will help curb both favouritism and discrimination. Also, this move will help students bond with each other beyond the levels of shared caste or religious sentiments.

Lately, people have reduced the word secular to an insult in the war between conservative and liberal sections of our society. What we forget is that for hundreds of years numerous religions have managed to thrive in our country. That too simply because of their will to adjust and accept. If we lose this will, then we become a breeding ground for opportunists who will pit us against each other for their own gain.

It’s hard to imagine India sans its mish-mash of caste and religion. But we have to ask ourselves, do we need this endorsement at educational institutes or workplace?

There are numerous people who will argue that religion or caste are an inseparable part of their identity. And that they do not feel ashamed to endorse it in society. They are not wrong. It’s hard to imagine India sans its mish-mash of caste and religion. But we have to ask ourselves, do we need this endorsement at educational institutes or workplace? Shouldn’t one restrict to a thorough institutional or professional conduct there? It’s not that those who opt to shroud their religious identity aren’t proud of it. Plus, veiling caste and religion is as much our right as endorsing it in public. There is no outright right or wrong here, as long as there is equality and acceptance.

Probably the effort of these liberal parents and students, will make us see that it becomes easier to co-exist and even love each other when the glasses tinted with caste and religious bias come off.

Also Read : Bhakti Mathur’s Books Introduce Religions To Children In A Non-preachy Way

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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