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Elephant tramples villager to death at Parjang Palasahi in Dhenkanal

Odisha Minister Damodar Rout’s “Brahmin Beggar” Jibe Stirs Hornet’s Nest


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20 December 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo


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Bhubaneswar: Well-known for his controversial statements, be it political or social or farmer issue, senior BJD leader and Odisha Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout once again hogs the headlines for his yet another jibe against the Brahmin community allegedly terming them as ‘beggars’.

Brahmin group in the Hindu pilgrim city of Puri on Wednesday staged protest against the seasoned politician for his derogatory remarks and resolved to intensify their agitation till Rout has begged apology and withdrawn his caustic comments.

In his strong reactions, Odisha Brahman Vedic Parishad member Sangram Satpathy burst, “Our dharna and ‘satya graha’ (non-violent movement) began today against his derogatory remarks and will further intensify till he (Damodar Rout) has withdrawn his caustic comments and begged due forgiveness from the entire Brahmin community.

BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma, who himself is a Brahmin, remarked, “Odisha is the ‘pradesh’ (State) of Lord Jagannath. There is no casteism in Odisha. It has been proved often and the people of India feel surprised at such a development. But now, Dama Babu is spitting venom either against the women or against the high caste or against the tribals.”

“Yesterday the way he has given statements against the Brahmins, BJP demands due apology from Dama Babu and Naveen Babu (BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister) should give explanation on it,” the saffron party leader lambasted.

Amid the raging scenario, Damodar Rout in his media reactions on Wednesday defended, “I had been to a remote tribal-dominated village in Malkangiri. During discussion I said that our occupation is agriculture. The way the tribals have been deep-rooted in their profession of cultivaton, they never resort to begging rather prefer to die drinking stream water in hunger. On the other hand, we honour the Brahmins as they do religious activities. But when they beg we, religiously extend them with the due alms.”

“My intention was to explain that agriculture is our occupation and we’re nourished in Jagannath culture. We have a deep faith that Brahmins are in a high position in our society and to seek their blessings, we cordially donate them with alms. On the contrary, the tribals may be in acute hunger and poverty, but never beg. Tribals never resort to committing suicide and bravely face natural calamity. They think that if they are alive, their family survives and thus the society also survives. This trend is 4000-4500 years old in Odisha.”

He further argued, “I hate those who are politicizing this and making hay out of it. When we visit Sri Mandir in Puri, the Brahmins there are found begging. Are they not begging? Are they collecting tax?”

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Sangram Satpathy, Member, Odisha Brahman Vedic Parishad

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Sajjan Sharma, Spokesperson, BJP, Odisha

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Damodar Rout, Minister, Agriculture, Odisha