Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 18 April 2024 8.40 PM IST

Why ignore Ezhava community?


Statistics are the most valuable assets in modern times. If erroneous data is fed to the software, even a computer may end up giving incorrect output. So, it has become imperative to provide exact data without any addition of surmises.

Idle talks or rabble-rousing is not the need of the hour to prove the backwardness of a community and the lack of adequate representation at bureaucratic levels. Proper data to ascertain the reality is what the government should work out for. The Supreme Court itself has asked the backward classes to submit authentic data as a precondition to prove their entitlement to the reservation. Backward communities cannot submit such documents without conducting a caste census.

The absence of a caste census will eventually lead to the disappearance of the existing reservation rights of backward Dalits. For some political reasons, the central government loath the process of caste census and may not conduct it anytime soon. There is no point in knocking on the central government doors again as they have made their decision not to entertain the census. However, the state government have the federal authority to conduct the census without any central assistance. Legally and constitutionally there is no hindrance in it. The backward classes, if united together can approach the state government to consider the option of the census.

The Patna High Court initially stayed the Bihar government's move to conduct the caste census, but later waved the green signal. As the situation has progressed this far, the Kerala government can’t just pile all the blame on the central government or the court as a ruse to stymie the census. The government can rightfully proceed with the census as it is certain that the court won't prove to be a hindrance.

The Left government with Pinarayi Vijayan as Chief Minister has a legal and moral obligation to do so since most of the votes from the backward classes have always favoured the left party. It is believed that if the caste census is conducted in the state, the neglect and injustice experienced by the Ezhava community for a century will be resolved for good.

The Ezhava community would be left guessing for answers if one asked them about the total number of people current in their community. No authentic answers are currently available as the Ezhava community has been omitted from any census for the past 93 years. Take the case of the Muslim community; they have a census every ten years to show how their community fared among others. It is this valuable statistic that forms the basis for them to get what they deserve. Don't other communities of Hindus, including the Ezhavas, have the right to know this?

It is still unknown why the Ezhava community have been ignored for this long. Muslims and Christians make up 45 per cent of Kerala's population. 10 percent are SC and ST. The remaining 45 per cent of Hindus have no account of which communities and sub-castes they belong to. This should be corrected.

The majority of the members of this community want Kerala to become a model state where everyone lives in harmony. The Left government should not hesitate to seize the opportunity to correct this historic wrong. Therefore, the state government should immediately start work to conduct a caste census. Knowing the socio-economic and educational statistics of each community will empower the government to move on the path of truth, justice and facts. If that happens, the darkness of neglect experienced by the Ezhava community for a century will be wiped away.

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