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A’bad auto driver gets ‘secular’ cert from school for daughter Religion And Caste Not Mentioned In School-Leaving Cert

July 07, 2020 07:22 AM

COURTESY TOI JULY 7

A’bad auto driver gets ‘secular’ cert from school for daughter
Religion And Caste Not Mentioned In School-Leaving Cert
Ashish.Chauhan@timesgroup.com

This autorickshaw driver failed in 2017 to change his name to ‘RV155677820’, thus becoming ineligible to share the unique-moniker category with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s 2020-born baby, ‘X AE A-XII’. But on Monday, the Ahmedabad driver accomplished a rare feat for his own child — he got her a “secular” schoolleaving certificate.

The driver, Rajveer Upadhyay, has also ensured that his daughter Akanksha’s certificate does not mention her caste, religion, or community. This is perhaps the first-of-its-kind school-leaving certificate which does not identify a person based on their caste or creed.


The production of this uncommon document owes to the unrelenting efforts over the past three months of Upadhyay, 36, a Chandkheda resident. On Monday, Akanksha, 13, received the certificate from her school which has left the religion and caste columns blank.

“If we want to create a caste-less society, we have to begin by removing caste and religion from documents,” Upadhyay said.


Rajveer Upadhyay with daughter Akanksha; the certificate

‘Got certificate after making innumerable representations’

I managed to get the certificate by making innumerable representations to the Ahmedabad district collector and chief minister Vijay Rupani. After considering the representations, the school authorities heeded my request.”

Upadhyay said that he had cited the case of a lawyer from the Tamil Nadu city of Vellore, identified only as Sneha. Upadhyay stressed in his representations that Sneha had in 2019 persuaded authorities to remove her caste and religion from all her government documents.

As for the lost battle over ‘RV155677820’, in May 2017, Upadhyay had filed a plea with the Ahmedabad district collector seeking to change his name. ‘RV155677820’ was a combination of two letters from his first name — Rajveer — and his enrolment number on his school-leaving certificate. At the time, the state was convulsed by three caste movements: Patidars agitating for a quota, OBCs fighting against any dilution of reservations, and Dalits demanding land rights.Upadhyay was directed to approach the government printing and stationery department at the gazette office in Rajkot.

But his plea was rejected. He then challenged the gazette office order and filed a plea in the Gujarat high court in April 2019, praying to get the status of an atheist.

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