No Caste, No Religion Certificate in India

No Caste, No Religion Certificate in India
Sneha Parthibaraja became the first Indian who was issued a “No caste, No religion” certificate, according to revenue officials in the state, on 5th February 2019. The 35-year-old advocate, of Tirupattur, a town in Vellore district in the state of Tamil Nadu, received the certificate from the tahsildar of Tirupattur- T.S. Sathiyamoorthy. She had reportedly been trying to get the certificate since 2010. She said that this was a step towards social change and equality. Revenue officials hold that this is the first time that such a certificate was issued in India. Sneha’s parents also used to leave the “caste” and “religion” blank in all kinds of forms. She said that as a result, she grew up in a household which did not focus on caste and religion and held that their only identity was their Indian citizenship, and thus made the effort to get an official “No caste, No religion” certificate from the country. This was done as she realized that in every application form that she filled, the enclosure of community certificate was mandatory- hence, she felt the need to obtain a self-affidavit. It was then that it occurred to her that she needed an identity that was sans caste and religion, and only upheld her nationality. B Priyanka Pankajam, the Sub-Collector of Tirupattur agreed to Sneha’s request. K. Parthiba Raja, Sneha’s husband and a Tamil professor, said they left the ‘caste’ and ‘religion’ columns blank in the school application forms of their three children, since Sneha is keen to follow the example set by her parents and leave behind the same legacy for her children. None of their certificates mention anything about their caste and religion either. Her act has been welcomed whole-heartedly by the citizens of the country, who have all lauded her for taking the first step towards establishing an equal society. Numerous people, such as Kamal Hassan, have congratulated her for her efforts.

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