Historians call for a casteless society in India


New Delhi : India needs to bid farewell to politics of caste and religion, and a casteless society can only bring economic prosperity to the country, historians cutting across ideological lines said here Friday.

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Over 1,000 historians are in the national capital participating in the three-day Indian History Congress that ends Sunday.

“Let us focus on resources and not on caste and religion. Casteless society is the need of the hour and every single political party must realise it,” eminent historian R.S. Sharma said.

“We have to end the shackles of casteism for the betterment of masses. If these bad habits were created by us (human beings), then we must stop it,” Sharma, who has written 115 books, told IANS.

Suvira Jaiswal, a renowned historian and former professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said caste continues to take its toll on legal, political and economic aspects of human lives in the country.

“Although annihilation of caste discrimination has been one of the main priorities of national agenda since independence, it cannot be opposed that caste continues to impact us in a major way not only in personal relations but also in various aspects of public life,” Jaiswal said.

D.N. Roy, a professor of history at the Bhagalpur University, Bihar, said several political parties both in the national and regional level are giving impetus to casteism.

“Let us wipe out the stigma of casteism and start life afresh where there is no place for discrimination. Political will and public cooperation can give birth to history of casteless society in the country,” Roy told IANS.

Baba Mishra from Orissa said instead of casteism let us focus on development. “There are only two categories of people – the haves and havenots. Everyone, including our government and politicians, must strive to bridge the gap. Why widen it in the name of caste and religion,” Mishra said.

Delhi University got the opportunity to host the Congress after 46 years. Last year, it was held at Calicut.