Narendra Jadhav, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Modi government, earlier this year, is "seriously contemplating" tabling a bill which would outlaw surnames in an attempt to create a casteless society.
"I am seriously contemplating bringing a private member's bill in Rajya Sabha in the near future. It will be effective," Jadhav told The Times of India. "Unlike in case of Blacks and Whites, you cannot physically distinguish castes. So, the name becomes important. It should be made obligatory to drop family name."
Jadhav, who also worked in Sonia Gandhi's National Advisory Council, and is the author of several books on Dalit icon B.R.. Ambedkar, told TOI that dropping family names would be a "giant step" in creating a casteless, merit-based society.
Jadhav is speaking against the backdrop of rising atrocities against Dalits in the country, including the flogging of four men from their community by cow vigilantes in Gujarat, which has sparked outrage all across the country.