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Was paraphrasing Ambedkar: JNU VC explains her 'caste of Gods' remark

By Vishu Adhana
Last updated on: August 24, 2022 20:04 IST
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After her 'no god is upper caste' remark stoked a controversy, Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit on Wednesday clarified that she was just "paraphrasing" BR Ambedkar's views and questioned why an academic lecture was being politicised.

IMAGE: Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, Vice Chancellor, JNU speaks to media on Tuesday. Photograph: ANI Photo

"I was asked to speak on BR Ambedkar's views on gender justice. I was paraphrasing BR Ambedkar. You can see his writings. Why should people get angry with me, they should get angry with BR Ambedkar. Why I am being pulled into it," she told PTI.

Delivering the Dr B R Ambedkar lecture series, Pandit on Monday said "anthropologically" gods do not belong to the upper caste and that even Lord Shiva could be from a scheduled caste or tribe.

She was speaking on 'Dr B R Ambedkar's Thoughts on Gender Justice: Decoding the Uniform Civil Code'.

 

On Wednesday, Pandit asserted that she had spoken as an ''academic" and only cited Ambedkar's views.

"I am an academic first, a professor. Why an academic lecture is being politicised? I am really scared to give any lecture in Delhi. Everything is misquoted. I am not an original thinker, I am a professor. I feel so hurt, why are people politicising it?" she said.

During the lecture, the VC had 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 had said.

Talking about the recent caste violence involving a nine-year-old Dalit boy, she had 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 had said.

She had 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,'' she had said.

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Vishu Adhana
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