Pawar clarifies stand on controversial rejection of ‘Puneri pagdi’, says it was not rejection of any section of society
Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, on Saturday, sought to clarify on his recent decision to not wear the ‘Puneri Pagdi’ (turban) which provoked strong criticism on social media.
Speaking on the occasion of the party’s 19th foundation day rally in the city, recently, Pawar had asked party workers to shun the Puneri pagdi and opt for the Phule pagadi, associated with social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule.
“The party’s city unit has greeted me and Chhagan Bhujbal with the Puneri pagdi. However, from now on, party workers will offer only the Phule pagdi whenever they have to greet someone on the party platform,” Pawar had said.
While the Puneri pagdi is historically associated with the Peshwas- the Brahmin prime ministers of the Maratha empire- the Phule pagadi, associated with Mahatma Phule, is seen as a symbol of “bahujans” - Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBC.
Pawar’s rejection of the Puneri pagdi was seen as his political attempt to whip up anti-Brahmin sentiments and appease the Dalits. This provoked considerable criticism in political circles and social media.
Pawar, on Saturday, sought to clarify his stand on the matter. Speaking at the inauguration of a medical facility at a Pune Municipal Corporation hospital at Padmavati, on Saturday, Pawar said his choice of the Phule pagdi was not intended to “reject any particular section of society.”
“As I am a follower of Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s philosophy of equality, I wanted to convey that through action. He said, while Ambedkar did not use any turban, the one worn by Shahu Maharaj was not practical. He therefore, chose the Phule turban.
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