Kunbis, Marathas are same: SBCC report

The Asian Age.  | Shahab Ansari

Metros, Mumbai

Marathas should have titled backward long ago, says panel.

File picture of protest by Maratha Kranti Morcha.

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission, which was given the task of studying the social, educational and economic condition of Marathas, has accepted in its report that Kunbis and Marathas belong to the same community as claimed by various Maratha organisations. The commission also said that as with Kunbis, Marathas also should have been categorised as a backward class long ago.

The nine-member commission headed by retired Justice M.G. Gaikwad has drawn a comparison between Kunbis and Maratha, and — with the help of data — it has reached the conclusion that Marathas are behind Kunbis in many fields.

The commission stated that adoption of modern home appliances and their appropriate use is also found to be comparatively scarce among Marathas — 25.19 per cent compared to 33.31 per cent Kunbis.

The report has stated that the Marathas are not incapable of affording personal tap water connections. The report also endorsed the lack of ‘social sense of hygiene, cleanliness and protection from health hazards’ among the community.

Taking past events into consideration, the commission said that the then-government of Bombay had issued a government resolution (GR) in April 1942, in which the Maratha community was included in the list of backward classes. The GR had included the Maratha caste as intermediate class only for the purpose of education. However, in 1950, the Central government prepared a list of Scheduled Castes, Sche-duled Tribes and Other Backward Communities. “The caste, Maratha, which was appearing in the 1942 list disappeared from the list of Other Backward Communities,” read the report.

“As the Kunbis and Marathas are same and the First National Commission (the Kelkar Commission) identified them as backward classes, the Maratha caste should be included in the list of Other Backward Classes,” the report said.

According to the report, the commission collected material to define exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations, after which it identified Marathas to be socially, educationally and economically backward.

According to the commission, the Maratha caste and other castes’ people engaged in and depending on agriculture are the victims of natural calamities. “Except Mar-atha, other castes have already been included in the list of backward classes,” said the commission adding, “So the Maratha caste should not have been an exception thereto.”