What’s in a name? The key to a casteless society?

Hegde, Gowda, Jois, Shetty, Rai, Iyer, Iyengar, Gounder, Namboodiri, Menon, Nair, Nambiar, Reddy, Naidu, Rao, Patnaik, Hota, Panda, Naik, Shinde, Jadhav,  Patel, Shah, Desai…

Chatterjee, Mukerjee, Bannerjee, Sen, Das, Roy, Sharma, Verma, Bhat, Shastri, Chauhan, Mishra, Dayal, Choudhary, Gupta, Thakur, Sinha, Singh, Dutta, Yadav, Paswan, Meena….

All of you, yes, all of you need to drop your caste-name as surname if India is to produce a casteless society, is the clarion call of Anbumani Ramadoss.

The former Union health minister writes in The Hindu:

“It would be naive to assume that dispensing with caste names will lead to a casteless society. Caste names are only part of the problem rather than the solution. There is no pat solution for this dilemma. The adoption of generic names would be a small but definite step towards eradicating caste from this society.

“To bring about a caste-free society, not only caste (brand names) but also the mindset of the developed sections towards their less fortunate brethren should change. Social justice can be achieved only when all sections of society have a level playing-field socially, educationally and economically.

“To bring about this change, we need to acknowledge the centuries of discrimination faced by the oppressed sections. For significant progress to be made, in our quest for social equality, the developed class should cease looking on in amused contempt of and derision towards its less developed counterparts.

“It is easy enough to dismiss a name or rather the implications of a name as being unimportant and preposterous. But let us not be ostrich-like.”

Read the full article: What is in a name?

Photograph: As part of his padayatra in Dalit colonies, Sri Vishvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt, lights the lamp at a Dalit home in Kailashapura in Mysore on Monday. (Karnataka Photo News)

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