A day after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat landed in a controversy with his remarks on Pandits, a common term used to refer to the Brahmin community, the RSS’ publicity chief Sunil Ambekar on Monday issued a clarification saying Mr. Bhagwat’s remarks have been misconstrued, and by ‘Pandits’ he had meant vidvaan (intellectuals).
A day before, Mr. Bhagwat, at an event to celebrate Guru Ravidas Jayanti in Mumbai, had said that all people were created equal, irrespective of name, ability, and honour, but “the Pandits had created caste, and what the Pandits said on the basis of the shastras [scripture] was a lie”.
The statement drew criticism from several political parties.
Issuing the clarification, Mr. Ambekar said, “He was speaking in Marathi and what he said should be understood in [the] right manner.” He clarified that Mr. Bhagwat had used the word ‘Pandit’ to mean vidvaan, or intellectuals, adding the RSS chief had actually meant that everyone deserved the same respect.
Attacking the RSS chief for his statement, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter saying: “It should also be clarified what the ground reality regarding caste is.”
The SP’s national general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya dared the RSS chief to ask the Central government to “remove portions referring to caste from Ramcharitmanas”.
Congress leader and MP Digvijay Singh also questioned Mr. Bhagwat’s statement and asked if he would clarify which of our shastras are wrong.