BJP leader L Ganesan attempted to explain his understanding of the origins of 'untouchability' in India

Senior BJP Leaders remarks on untouchability draw severe criticism
news Caste Monday, March 28, 2016 - 13:03

Senior BJP leader L. Ganesan, on Sunday, attempted to explain his understanding of the origins of “untouchability” in India, calling it a “method of self-restraint for hygiene purposes” by those who handled carcasses.

This, he claimed, was later institutionalised by others as a form of discrimination.

According to The Hindu, the claim received sharp responses from Dalit politicians and writers, who said the “theory” had no basis whatsoever and was in a manner of belittling the victims of untouchability.

Elaborating on the comments he made on a television programme, Mr. Ganesan said years ago those who handled carcasses could have possibly kept themselves away owing to hygiene issues. “Unfortunately, the other side slowly institutionalised this and started demanding the exclusion. If you look at the Bhagavad Gita, Varna is defined on the basis of qualities and duties of a person. There was no birth-based discrimination,” he added.

Making it clear that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, of which he has been a long-time member, abhorred any form of untouchability, Mr. Ganesan said he went by the Constitution, which considers all citizens as equals. “In the RSS, we never ask the caste of the other person,” he said.

Commenting on Mr. Ganesan’s remarks, VCK general secretary D. Ravikumar said the BJP leader was no expert to formulate theories. “Is he a historian, sociologist or anthropologist to make such claims? What is the evidence,” he asked.

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