Identity questions in the National Census

Census 2010 in India has been controversial, with a vigorous debate over the inclusion of questions that determine the caste of an individual.

I have just one question – in principle, how are questions about caste identity any better or worse than questions about racial identity?

Picture on the left, from the census forms of the US (Q 9).

Also refer to the UK (page 8) form.

I don’t yet have a position on this issue. Counting caste/race is surely not the same as endorsing it; and in fact, the information could be used to the benefit of all. But would it also encourage partisan politics even further?

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