Mistranslation of SC, ST to be fixed in school admission forms

Corpn. makes change following objections to their usage

The Department of Education in the Greater Chennai Corporation has ordered the removal of the inappropriate Tamil words used for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in application forms for school admissions following objections to their usage.

In the application forms for Corporation-run schools, for the question in Tamil asking which community the student belonged to, thazhthapattavar (oppressed) and malai jaathi (hill caste) were used for SCs and STs respectively.

Petitions sent

At least two petitions were sent citing the negative connotations associated with these words and the possible violation of a 2018 order of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), which was issued following a judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. A petition sent by Republican Party of India – Tamil Nadu president R. Anbuvendhan alleged that the usage was in violation of law, and urged the Corporation to use the correct terms.

Advocate A.B. Rajasekaran, in his email petition to the Corporation, said the words were demeaning and derogatory and could be in violation of one or more union and State laws/orders.

The 2018 order of the MoSJE asked all State governments to use only the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English and its appropriate translations in other languages.

Mr. Rajasekaran told The Hindu that while the appropriate translation for SCs can be Attavanai Pirivinar, in the context of Tamil Nadu, the officially used terms were Pattiyalinathavar or Adi Dravidar.

The Department for the welfare of SCs and STs in Tamil Nadu is also called Adi Dravidar Matrum Pazhangudiyinar Nala Thurai.

“The government must stick to these official terms and not use other inappropriate translations,” he said.

‘Concerns justified’

A senior official from the Corporation said the concerns raised regarding the negative connotations were justified.

“The forms were printed last year. We do not want to stop issuing the forms as it will affect enrolment. We have asked the heads of the schools to manually strike through the words and write the appropriate terms. The new forms will be printed correctly,” the official added.

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