Some notes on the census form of India

I recently had a look at the census form of India. I was happy to note that question 3 on ‘Gender’ seeks to enumerate transgenders alongside men and women. I was shocked to find that under question 9 on ‘Disability’, ‘mental retardation’ is listed as one of the disabilities. Now who uses that kind of language in  census form?

Why are ‘age’ and ‘date of birth’ both asked in question 4? Won’t a mismatch lead to unnecessary confusion? Question 7 on religion is quite trivial. The options to this question are the following religions- Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain. People belonging to other religions are supposed to mention it separately in the space provided.

Therefore, the only option atheists and agnostics are left with is to leave the option blank. But that will lead to further confusion. In-fact, in the 2001 Census, more than 7 lakh people left the column blank. They are reported as ‘Religion not Stated’ and not atheists or agnostics.

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2 responses to “Some notes on the census form of India

  1. Well all your questions were answered in some article I read…

    The reason they use words like “mental retardation” is because a lot of census workers are not very well trained in English and they may be confused with politically correct words like mentally challenged etc. Also I personally am against using the pussified words like differently abled etc.

    The reason they have both date of birth and age is because there are a lot of uneducated people who are not aware of their exact date of birth.. they just remember it like, “when I was 5 years old, I saw my first Kumbh mela and then I have seen 4 more. I was born around Holi” and the census workers have to calculate the age depending on that!

    Atheism wise, I don’t know. Why do we need to assert our lack of belief in something? Although I feel there should have been an option for atheist/agnostic.

    I hope you mentioned Sanskrit as one of the languages you speak!

  2. @g2’s “Why do we need to assert our lack of belief in something?”
    Why then do we need to assert our belief in something? At all. Ever.

    @sourav: Astute observations. Thanks for sharing!

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