Lok Sabha was adjourned briefly on Tuesday due to protests by opposition members who alleged that BJP member C P Joshi had glorified 'Sati' in his speech. Joshi, however, clarified that he did not support the banned practice and that his remarks were on the tradition of 'Jauhar'.
He said he did not mention 'Sati' and perhaps due to an error in translation from Hindi, the word was mixed with his reference to 'Satitva' (chastity).
Joshi, a BJP member from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, had initiated the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address when he referred to Padmavati, the queen of Mewar who is believed to have self-immolated when invader Allaudin Khilji laid a siege at the Chittor fort.
Opposition members Supriya Sule (NCP), Kanimozhi, Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja (DMK), K Muraleedharan (Congress) and Imtiaz Jaleel (AIMIM) were on their feet claiming that Joshi had glorified the practice of 'Sati'.
Joshi asserted that he had not made any reference to the practice of 'Sati', but mentioned that Padmavati had performed 'Jauhar' (self-immolation) to protect her honour.
“I stand by my words,” Joshi said, as opposition members raised slogans in the Well of the House.
As protests continued, Speaker Om Birla adjourned the proceedings for 20 minutes. When the House reassembled, Birla assured the House that objectionable references will be examined and expunged.
Joshi sought to further explain his comments and said he was mentioning 'Jauhar', a practice of mass self-immolation by women.
"Neither I nor my party has ever supported Sati... Perhaps due to an error in translation 'Satitva' was mixed with 'Sati'... My government keeps nation above politics," he said.
"She (Queen Padmavati) sacrificed her life to protect her 'Satitva' (chastity)...," Joshi said, inviting fresh protests from the Opposition benches.
"It was Jauhar... perhaps you don't understand Hindi," he added as protests continued.
As the ruckus continued, the Speaker again assured members that objectionable comments will be expunged and urged members to maintain the decorum of the House.
DMK leader A Raja said even as they wanted to abide by the rulings of the Chair, the reference made by the BJP MP was "completely against the society" and "anti-human".
Participating in the debate later, DMK's Kanimozhi said her head was hanging in shame due to the reference made in the House, even as she did not name the MP.
"Every country when it talks about its past has different narrations... Whose past are we talking about? We talk about the greatness of the nation, valour, art, temples, and philosophy.
"But we can't forget the people who found no place in history - the untouchables, the unseeable and women who were pushed in the fire in the name of honour," she said.
"Today we celebrate that and I stand on the floor of the House hanging my head in shame because we had to listen to something like that," she said.