Amid a slew of caste-related violence in the country, Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit on Monday said “anthropologically” gods do not belong to the upper caste and that even Lord Shiva could be from scheduled caste or tribe.
Delivering the Dr B R Ambedkar Lecture Series titled 'Dr B R Ambedkar's Thoughts on Gender Justice: Decoding the Uniform Civil Code', she also said the "status of shudras given to women in Manusmriti" makes it extraordinarily regressive.
"Let me tell all women that all women according to Manusmriti are shudras so no woman can claim she is a Brahmin or anything else and it is only by marriage that you get the husband or father's caste on you. I think this is something which is extraordinarily regressive," she said.
Taking about the recent caste violence involving a nine-year-old Dalit boy, she said that “no god belonged to the upper caste.”
"Most of you should know the origins of our gods anthropologically. No god is a Brahmin, the highest is a kshatriya. Lord Shiva must be a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe because he sits in a cemetery with a snake and has very little clothes to wear. I don't think Brahmins can sit in the cemetery," she said.
She also said that "anthropologically" gods, including Lakshmi, Shakti, or even Jagannath do not come from the upper caste.
In fact, she said, Jagannath has tribal origins.
“So why are we still continuing with this discrimination which is very very inhuman. It is very important that we are rethinking, reorienting the thoughts of Babasaheb. We do not have any leader of modern India who was such a great thinker.
“Hinduism is not a religion it is a way of life and if it is the way of life then why are we scared of criticism,” she said.
“Gautam Buddha was one of the first to wake us up on the discriminations which is embedded, structured in our society," she added.