CHENNAI: Community certificates are meant to set things right for the historically oppressed communities, by granting them opportunities that they were denied in the name of caste. It was in the year 2013, when Selvam and his family, belonging to the Irula community, first approached the revenue office in Tambaram and applied for a community certificate.
“I was in Class V when we first applied. I have finished my Class 12 exams now. I still haven’t gotten my certificate,” Selvam says.
A higher education degree continues to remain elusive for many people like Selvam and his brother, who aspire to break their shackles imposed by their caste and fly higher. The seven-year-long pursuit to obtain a community certificate has still not yielded any result. Selvam fears that he will not stand a chance to go to college without the certificate.
“My brother was sent to a polytechnic institute instead of a college for the same reason. My father pleaded with the principal of the institute to admit my brother, on the promise that he will submit the community certificate as soon as we get it,” he explains.
It has been two years now, Selvam’s brother has been asking for excuses every time he is asked about the certificate.
“They told him that he cannot get his degree without producing the certificate. How can I dream to study further when it is not easy for my brother?” Selvam wishes to study BCom, but is scared that he may never set foot in a college.
“In my brother’s case, my father personally met principals of many institutions and requested them to take my brother conditionally without the certificate. Now, with the lockdown restricting our movement, he may not be able to do that for me,” he worries.
Ravi, Selvam’s father, asks not to reveal his elder son’s identity as it may jeopardise his career altogether. “In 2013, the RDO at Tambaram accepted our request for the certificate. But the officer was transferred after six months,” he says. After a few years, the revenue officials have told Ravi that he should apply for the certificate at his native place.
“We have lived in Madurapakkam near Tambaram for about 12 years now. But they want us to apply in Tiruvannamalai, our native place.” While Ravi has been travelling back and forth to Tiruvannamalai over the past few years, his efforts are put to halt by the lockdown.
“My son finished his Class 12 now. I have no means to travel to Tiruvannamalai to meet the officials repeatedly and remind them of my case.” he says lamenting that his sons’ education may come to an end with this lockdown.