Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has sparked a major controversy over his remarks that people from the Brahmin community are held in high regard in society by birth because of their dedication, sacrifice and guidance to other communities. Birla is a Lok Sabha MP from Kota in Rajasthan. He was in his home constituency to attend a meeting of the Akhil Brahmin Mahasabha.
"Brahmins have always had a high status in society. This status is a result of their sacrifice and dedication. This is the reason that Brahmins have always been the guiding light for society," Birla tweeted in Hindi and coupled it with pictures of the event.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Birla said during the meet that the Brahmin community has always played the role of a guide in the society.
"It has always played a role in spreading education and values in society. And even today if just one Brahmin family lives in a village or a hutment, then that Brahmin family always holds a high position due to its dedication and service...hence, Brahmins are held in high regard in society by the virtue of their birth," he said.
He added that "in this country, you will still find that most teachers today hail from Brahmin community".
The Lok Sabha Speaker’s remarks stirred controversy with many on social media advising him to maintain the dignity of the post. Some others sought an apology and some demanded that he resign. Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani used Birla’s comments to seek his resignation as Lok Sabha Speaker. "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," he said.
Rajasthan president of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Kavita Srivastava also demanded that Birla withdraw his comments. Srivastava said that the Speaker’s remarks were against Article 14 of the Constitution (equality before law).
"To establish a community's supremacy or declare one community over other communities is against Article 14 of the Constitution. This, in a way, demeans other castes and promotes casteism," Srivastava said and announced to raise the matter with President Ram Nath Kovind who comes from Dalit community.