Forty Nine-year-old Neal Mohan, the new head of YouTube is a Lucknow boy. Mohan was born in Lucknow. Soon after, his parents took him to the United States of America, but he returned to Lucknow as a teenager to study at St Francis’ College founded in 1885. He had lived in the River Bank Colony beside the Gomti river and those who knew him then recall him speaking with an American accent.

Today, the Facebook page of St. Francis’ College is filled with scores of posts like, ‘apne Lucknow ka beta Neal Mohan is the new YouTube CEO’! The city is filled with pride at Mohan’s success.

After finishing Class 12 in Lucknow, Mohan went on to graduate in electrical engineering from Stanford University, USA. He worked with Accenture, DoubleClick Inc, Google, and Twitter had once wanted to hire him to improve its product line-up. However Google did not want to let him go and offered him stock grants that he could not refuse.

Since 2015, Mohan was YouTube’s chief product officer till his promotion as the CEO last week of the global online video sharing and social media platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. YouTube was launched on February 14, 2005, by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim and is owned by Google. It is the second most visited website, after Google Search.

In Top Form

The other good news is that the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav’s performance as the main leader of opposition in the State Assembly is full of spunk today. Yadav has been consistently speaking for the good of Dalits and people belonging to Other Backward Castes (OBCs). His demand for a caste census in Uttar Pradesh (UP) resonates with all those who believe in social justice and equality amongst human beings.

During a debate in the budget session of the State Assembly, Yadav questioned the ruling party’s claim to work for all citizens, promising ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and ‘sabka vishwas’. How is this possible when the exact population of the economically and socially marginalised communities has not been updated?

Is it fair to plan welfare policies based on data collected almost a century ago?

Yadav is an OBC and has been consistently saying that ‘jiski jitni sankhya bhaari uski utni hissedaari’, demanding representation of all citizens in every aspect of life that is proportionate to the population of the community they belong to. Those in favour of caste census like Yadav complain that upper caste people have enjoyed a disproportionate share of facilities like jobs and access to higher education for long.

According to the Mandal Commission the OBC population in the country is 52 percent. This figure is perhaps a projection of the caste census data gathered way back in 1931. The last census conducted by the British in 1941 had collected data but it was not published.

In the 1951 Census the Indian government collected and published caste data of only Schedule Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST). The Manmohan Singh government collected data of all castes during the 2011 Census but the figures were not released.

Different surveys today give different figures.

The result is that the exact population of OBCs is unknown. The estimate is that the OBC population in UP is about 40 percent. Yadav wants the situation corrected immediately. However, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) head Mayawati is not impressed by the noise being made by the SP.

Mayawati is a strong supporter of caste census as well and her demand is that the ruling party do so as soon as possible. But she continues to mock Yadav saying why the former Chief Minister did not get the caste census done when he had the power to do so?

In a widely circulated press release, Mayawati said that the caste census should be done not only in UP but across the country. There is a need to have an accurate caste-wise population figures. To do that the Central government will have to take the initiative.

The demand for a caste census by the opposition political parties is a legitimate one. But if caste issues are being thrown up to attract votes then the exercise is not enough to corner the ruling party at election time.

According to a political analyst, the main strength of the ruling party is its politics of religion. The main challenge before secular politicians is to stand up to the way the ruling party has used religion to impress voters and to win election after election, not just caste.

Mayawati wants to know from Yadav why he did not get the caste census done during his term in office? If he had, the SP would not have to demand it today from the ruling party, added a sulking Mayawati, forgetting perhaps that she herself has been Chief Minister of UP four times in the past.

Stressed Out Songstress

Till recently Himanshu Singh was one of many teachers at Drishti IAS, country’s leading coaching institute for the civil services in Delhi. Singh had handled the social media team at the institute. Then his folk singer wife Neha Singh Rathore sang a song and Singh was asked to resign from his job.

‘There were some issues but after the incident with Neha I was asked to resign from Drishti IAS,’ Singh told the media. Rathore had received a notice from the police for creating disharmony and tension with her latest song.

Rathore’s song ‘UP Maa Ka Baa? Season 2’ is about the tragic end of a mother and daughter in district Kanpur Dehat who had burnt to death in their straw hut, and the driver of a bulldozer rode over them!

The song is full of pathos and empathy for the two women who were allowed to perish and it was posted online on 16 February. Ever since Rathore has been in the bad books of those in power in UP.

But citizens fail to understand why husband Singh is without a job today and being punished for a song sung by his wife?

Notice After Notice

Last Wednesday, an FIR was filed against Gauri Khan in Lucknow by Jaswant Shah, a resident of Mumbai. Khan is the wife of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and the brand ambassador of a construction company that had sold an apartment to the complainant but failed to hand over possession of the property despite a payment of Rs 86 lakh.

The complainant said that he bought the flat after being influenced by brand ambassador Gauri Khan!