LOK Sabha Speaker Om Birla is under fire over his controversial remarks praising Brahmins for their social standing at a function in Kota on September 8.
At the Akhil Brahmin Mahasabha which is his Lok Sabha constituency, Birla declared the “Brahmin community had always had a guiding role in the country.” Birla noted the role of the Brahmins in spreading education and values and argued they were held in high regard in society by “virtue of their birth”.
Subsequently, Birla put out a tweet, saying, “Brahmins have always held a high position in society. This place is the result of his sacrifice, penance. This is the reason why Brahmin community has always been in the role of guide.”
समाज में ब्राह्मणों का हमेशा से उच्च स्थान रहा है। यह स्थान उनकी त्याग, तपस्या का परिणाम है। यही वजह है कि ब्राह्मण समाज हमेशा से मार्गदर्शक की भूमिका में रहा है। pic.twitter.com/ZKcMYhhBt8
— Om Birla (@ombirlakota) September 8, 2019
However, his comments have evoked sharp criticism with many poting out how Birla has brought disrepute to his constitutional post. People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Rajasthan has lashed out against the Lok Sabha Speaker in strong words. In a statement, it has demanded that the Lok Sabha Speaker takes back his tweet on Brahmins. “We strongly condemn this statement. One, it is against Article 14 of the Constitution to establish the domination of any community, to declare any community as superior to other communities. This, in a way, gives sense of inferiority to other communities. Encourages casteism.”
PUCL Rajasthan said it would complain to the President against the Lok Sabha Speaker’s tweet on Brahmins.
It added, “How can a person make this kind of a statement publicly while being on a Constitutional post. PUCL condemns this statement in strong words and demands Honourable Lok Sabha Speaker to take back this statement. Along with that, we will send complaint about this to the Honourable President as well.”
Here’s a collection of Twitter reactions:
Om Birla : Speaker Lok Sabha said :
“ Brahmins are held in high regard by virtue of birth “
It is this mindset that caters to a caste ridden unequal India
We respect you Birlaji not because you are a Brahmin but because you are our Speaker in Lok Sabha
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) September 11, 2019
This celebration of Indian caste system is not only condemnable but also cringe-worthy!
It's a joke on us that a casteist like him is our Loksabha speaker.
He should publicly apologise for this attitude. https://t.co/Wu2ZPKht3G
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) September 10, 2019
Sir, I am a Brahmin, but I think it’s preposterous to perpetuate caste and class distinctions and the superiority of one over the other. It is anachronistic. It has divided our society and fostered caste violence.
I suggest you withdraw your unwarranted remarks. https://t.co/KiR2YJytUN
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) September 11, 2019
He is the Lok Sabha Speaker of #NewIndia. He is supposed to chair the House according to the Constitution of India that talks of justice, liberty, equality & fraternity in its Preamble. Now we know why the Sangh wanted #Manusmriti as India's constitution! https://t.co/MXNpO87Jnm
— Dipankar (@Dipankar_cpiml) September 10, 2019
Shame, this man is speaker of a democratic secular country. It is embarrassing even to read this biased and superiority complex tweet. https://t.co/Lu5onCTRRJ
— Bhavika Kapoor (@BhavikaKapoor5) September 11, 2019
Incidentally, in July Justice V Chitambaresh, a sitting judge of the Kerala High Court, had also courted controversy by glorifying Brahmins and their virtues. In his speech at the Tamil Brahmin’s Global Meet, Justice V Chitambaresh had listed out the features of being a Brahmin.
Claiming that a Brahmin had all the good qualities that one could list, he had elaborated that “He has got certain distinct characteristics: clean habits, lofty thinking, sterling character, mostly a vegetarian, a lover of Carnatic music. All good qualities rolled into one is a Brahmin.”
He, however, had maintained that he was expressing opinions in individual capacity and not as someone holding a constitutional post.