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.