In a country that has always been overshadowed by repeated discussions and demarcations on caste and religion, students in Kerala have set a precedence. Over 1.2 lakh students have denied providing details on the caste and religion they belong to.
The Kerala State Education Minister Prof C Ravindranath recently revealed the same in the legislative assembly. This academic year noted 3.16 lakh students taking admissions in Classes I to X. He said,
This year, at the time of admission a record number of 1.24 lakh students have left religion and caste columns blank while seeking admission. This shows secular credentials of our society.
Collected from over 9,000 schools in the state, this data is seeing an increase over the years, said the minister. Only last year, Congress legislator V T Balaram and CPI (M) MP M B Rajesh grabbed headlines for not sharing the details of the religion and caste they belong to. Very recently, footballer C K Vineeth was in the news for marking 'nil' in the religion column of his newborn son's birth certificate. He took to Instagram to announce this, says a report by Hindustan Times.
Last year, the state recorded 3.04 lakh admissions in schools and colleges. Speaking to the The New Indian Express, writer and activist M N Karassery had said,
This is the most pleasant and inspiring news I’ve heard in recent times.
The Indian education system, which faces reservations based on religion and caste, has always noted mixed reactions worldwide and this move may be a step forward for many other states to follow.