Why is Maharashtra to changing the caste-based names of localities?

India Dec 20, 2020

Recently, a decision that stirred up controversy in the state of Maharashtra took place on 2nd of December . The 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' Government of Maharashtra is taking up the exercise to change all caste based names of localities and settlements, scrapping names like Brahmanwada , Maharwada, Etc changing it to something more appropriate like names of historical figures.

The names are being changed as they refer to the Dalit community which gives people living in these areas a sense of discomfort and inferiority in the society. It also marks the prevalence of caste system and the discrimination on  basis of it coexisting in the society. Thus the decision aims at abolishing this discrimination and negative mindset among people .

The decision was unanimously passed and the task of identifying all such areas was initiated.

According to the CMO the task is important and it was about time for the settlements to be renamed as naming certain settlements based on their inhabitants led to a strong class divide among people.

C. M. Uddhav Thackeray's office claims that this initiative is to maintain social harmony and national unity among people.

Maharashtra Social Justice minister Dhananjay Munde supported the movement with statements like " we want to abolish the caste system gradually" and " names based on such caste divisions don't suit our progressive state" .

The government said that the localities are to be renamed as non disputable or non-discriminatory, such as Kranti Nagar and Jyoti Nagar.

Ashok Tangade, a social activist, claims that that in most instances, the names are not officially given but are imposed by the upper caste of a village.

This decision is more likely to be appreciated by the people of the state and the youth has already shown its support through social media platforms applauding the government for its decision.

This decision, implemented through a government resolution, is in keeping with a directive issued by President Ram Nath Kovind under Article 341 of the Constitution to replace the word ‘Dalit’ with ‘scheduled castes’ and ‘neo-Buddhists’ in all government transactions, records and certificates. It also comes ahead of Dr. BR Ambedkar's death anniversary on 6th of December. Thus it could be said that this is a tribute to the revolutionary anti-caste leader.

This article has been written by Sakshi Baoker for The Paradigm

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