Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has apologised on his social media handle for incorrectly translating a verse from Bhagavad Gita. The post triggered accusations of promoting caste divisions in the state.
The post implied that the Shudras had a natural duty to serve the Brahmins, Ksatriyas and Vaishyas. It sparked outrage among opposition leaders.
“As a routine, I upload one sloka of the Bhagavad Gita every morning on my social media handles. Till date, I have posted 668 slokas,” he wrote on a social media platform.
“Recently one of my team members posted a sloka from Chapter 18 verse 44 with an incorrect translation,” he said. “As soon as I noticed the mistake, I promptly deleted the post. The state of Assam reflects a perfect picture of a casteless society, thanks to the reform movement led by Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva. If the deleted post has offended anyone, I sincerely apologise.”
Congress leader Pawan Khera questioned whether the President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a similar view.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader and Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi spared no digs at Sarma, saying he was not fulfilling his oath of treating every Indian citizen equally.
“In a recently deleted post, Assam CM elaborated on his vision of society. “…farming, cow rearing, and commerce are natural duties of the Vaishya and serving the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas is the natural duty of the Shudras.”
“Holding a constitutional position, your oath is to treat every citizen equally. It’s reflected in the unfortunate cruelty that Assam’s Muslims have faced in the past few years. Hindutva is antithetical to Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice,” Owaisi said on social media.