NO CASTE IS THE NEW CASTE , Sneha
M.A Sneha, an inhabitant of Tirupattur, succeeded to break all shackles forced by the society in the name of religion and caste by obtaining the first ever ‘no caste, no religion’ certificate issued by the Tirupattur tahsildar T.S. Sathiyamoorthy. This is the result of her efforts and relentless fight that lasted for a long-time span of 9 years.
The seed for this social status was planted in her by her parents who never, in any of her official records filled anything in her caste or religion blanks. Sneha is thankful for being born into a family that believes in no caste or religion and professes social equity. The 35-year-old advocate wanted to make her’s and her family’s notions official by obtaining such a certificate. The officers who were involved in the granting of this certificate are rather proud about being able to facilitate such a progressive step towards social change. They have verified that all of Sneha’s documents, including birth certificate and school certificates have the ‘caste’ and ‘religion’ boxes blank. Her parents filled the status as ‘Indian’. But eventually, as she grew up her documents needed a compulsory attachment of a certificate proving her native community. This forced her leaving no other choice but to obtain a self-affidavit. It was only then that it occurred to her that she could have an identity that was “sans caste and religion,”. Thus, began her journey into turning her casteless and religion less status official.
Sneha had to face a lot of hurdles before achieving this statuesque. The issuing officials mostly rejected her applications and pleas stating that this has never happened before and there is no precedent in the laws of the country on the same. Also, declared this as a grey area and lacuna in the laws, hence without obtaining a clarity they considered themselves inefficient to issue a certificate as per the requirements of Sneha. This was countered by Sneha on the grounds that none of her official documents had mentioned anything about her caste and neither had she availed any of the schemes or benefits in regards to the same. But it was hard to be convincing enough until she encountered, B. Priyanka Pankajam, Sub-Collector of Tirupattur, who decided to give the green light.
K. Parthiba Raja, Sneha’s husband a Tamil professor, and Sneha have 3 beautiful children together. They have continued the tradition that Sneha’s parents had started as the they left the ‘caste’ and ‘religion’ columns blank in the school application forms for their three daughters. “In fact, their names are a combination of two religions – Aadhirai Nasreen, Aadhila Irene and Aarifa Jessy,” said Parthiba.