Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has welcomed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call to end the age-old caste system that leads to discrimination within society.
Heaping praise on Bhagwat for taking a bold stand on the matter, Pawar said Saturday, “Such statements should be implemented in reality. Just voicing concern on an issue is not the solution. It should come into force effectively. Otherwise, it will be another lip service.”
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) head had made the remark at a book release event in Nagpur on Friday, triggering debates across the political and social spectrum. Asserting that the caste system had no relevance in the 21st century, Bhagwat emphasised social equity as an integral aspect of Indian tradition and culture.
“The concept of ‘varna’ and ‘jati’ even in the past had no place for discrimination. It had its own utility. Even our old Vedic texts and all spiritual and religious heads have always shunned inequality and spoken about the highest reality, that is oneness. The concept of untouchability was never part of religious text or practice,” he said, adding, “Today, if anybody were to ask about these institutions our answer should be – it is the past, let’s forget it.”
Although Bhagwat did not dwell on the origins of caste system, how it polarised the society or what led to its exploitation, he said anything that was detrimental to social unity should be done away with. “Everything that causes discrimination should go out lock, stock and barrel,” he said.
Conceding that generations of the past have made mistakes not just in India but across the world, Bhagwat said, “Why should we hesitate to accept those mistakes… By accepting those mistakes, if one thinks our ancestors will become inferior, it won’t happen… After all, everybody is human.”
“At some point, everybody’s ancestors have made mistakes. What is important is to accept it and move forward,” he underlined.