After a long nine-year battle, lawyer Snegha Partibharaja received her 'no caste' certificate earlier this month in Tamil Nadu.
"My parents also did not believe in caste or religion and brought up my siblings and I like that. Whenever any school or college asked for my caste and religion, we did not fill that space. No one can be forced to disclose their caste or religion in schools and colleges and even at workplaces," Snegha told International Business Times, India.
She claimed that she is the first person in the country to receive the certificate. She got her certificate after her latest application at the Vellore district collectorate in 2017. A tahsildar in Tirupattur, Tamil Nadu, gave her the certificate on February 5.
Married to Parthibharaja, an author and professor at a government college in Tirupattur, Snegha said that she broke the traditional marriage route to marry him. They have three children.
Snegha said that while it will be difficult for her husband to receive a 'no caste-no religion' certificate, it will be very easy for her daughters and her siblings.
Giving Snegha this certificate was a very difficult task since the Tahsildar was the one with the power to issue these kinds of certificates. She was denied any such certificate several times. However, she did not let that stop her and went on asking the Vellore district collectorate for nine years till they gave in.
Snegha said that she has Vellore district sub-collector Priyanka Pankajam and Tahsildar Sathiyamoorthy to thank for the certificate.
Priyanka said that this was an exceptional case. According to The Times of India, she said, "After coming across Snegha's petition we verified her documents, in which there is no mention of caste or religion. We conducted a personal verification of her family background and her lifestyle. After ascertaining that the certificate she demand matched with her lifestyle, we decided to sanction her petition and certify her as a no-caste no-religion person on February 5."
Snegha wanted to clarify that while she has procured the no caste certificate, she is not against reservation. In fact, she believes that reservation will help uplift the suppressed after at least 2,000 years.