Community News

Census deptt’s attitude vis-à-vis religion and language

New Delhi: Muslim leaders have been repeatedly calling upon Muslims to write, or ask census personnel to write ‘Muslim’ in Census Form’s column meant for religion and ‘Urdu’ in the column meant for mother tongue.

In this year’s census form the word ‘Islam’ which is used universally for the religion of Muslims has been omitted, probably because of some ulterior motive because when ‘Islam’ is not included or mentioned in the computer itself, and if some one writes, or describes his religion Islam, this word will not be counted in the final computerised statement, thereby reducing the actual number/population of Muslims.

One may rightly question why the word ‘Islam’ has not been fed in the computer. Another complaint that is being commonly made is that in the column of mother tongue, either ‘Hindi’ is already written (it is not known by whom) or when they are asked to write Urdu, many of them say that in India Urdu cannot be written as the mother tongue. When they are asked why, their answer is that they have received instructions ‘from above’; or if they at all write Urdu as the mother tongue, they write it with pencil. This raises doubt that in the presence of the person no doubt Urdu is written but this can subsequently be erased and in its place ‘Hindi’ can be written without the knowledge of person concerned. In this way too Urdu can be eliminated in the final computerised sheet and in its place Hindi will be indicated.

Census personnel have been writing in some columns with pen and in some with pencil. One fails to understand why. Yet another complaint is that names of children below 7 years of age are not being included by the census staff. In the light of such complaints and attitudes of census staff, one may reasonably question the real motive of census department or in the broader sense, of the government? Some Muslim leaders say that for Muslims the intent of this census itself is doubtful.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 22

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