The Tamil Nadu government has decided to put an end to caste segregation in schools by banning the traditional caste wristbands students wear.
However, K. A. Sengottaiyan, Minister of Education of India, has decided to refuse the circular containing the ban and to allow students to continue wearing their caste markings.
According to Mr. Sengottaiyan, the circular was initially issued without his knowledge, and its sole purpose was to create confusion among educational institutions. The text of the circular explicitly banned any type of caste identifying possessions including rings, and headbands.
Tamil Nadu BJP leader H Raja has also confirmed that the circular was released without consultation with the Mr. Sengottaiyan, and has also called for legal action against the official who issued the ban in the first place.
Education minister did not approve the ban
According to scholars and officials from the Ministry of Education, the practice of wearing caste specific wristbands was initiated by students and has nothing to do with policies introduced by the government.
Even if the education minister had approved of the circular, it would have been extremely hard for it to become a reality. With one of the worst student-teacher ratios around the world, educators in India would have had to handle one more responsibility, which could lead to a significant drop in the quality of education.
Considering the fact that students themselves initiated this practice, even if pushed by caste leaders, means that children are willingly displaying their caste belonging.
Mr. Sengottaiyan has explained that this circular had nothing to do with him, and was not approved by his office. This is not surprising, as students should be allowed to express their caste belonging if they wish to. The education minister further commented that he would be investigating the issue in detail.