NEW DELHI: After his casual comment landing him in a mess, former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh posted a message on his Twitter account on Friday apologising for the same. He made the comment on a live Instagram video chat with India opener Rohit Sharma which evoked sharp reactions from critics who saw it as a casteist slur.
Responding to this, Yuvraj said in his tweet, “This is to clarify that I have never believed in any kind of disparity, be it on the basis of caste, colour, creed or gender. I have given and continue to spend my life for the welfare of people.”
“I understand that while I was having a conversation with my friends, I was misunderstood, which was unwarranted. However, as a responsible Indian I want to say that if I have unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments or feelings, I would like to express regret for the same,” Singh's message read.
Singh’s Instagram live video chat with Sharma took place last month which was followed by scores of cricket fans across the country. On India leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, Singh said, “Yeh bhangi logo ko koi kaam nahi hai, Yuzi (Yuzvendra) ko.”
The comment was meant to be in fun between friends and also a reference to Chahal’s social media performances. But Yuvraj using the term bhangi, seen as a slur used against the Valmiki community, has created trouble for the former India International.
During the live Instragram chat, not many seemed to have taken note of the comment. It gained prominence only after some social media users highlighted that part of the chat prompting many others to demand an apology from Singh. It led to a Twitter trend in India – “Yuvraj Singh maafi mango” (Yuvraj Singh, apologise).
This is not the first instance where a celebrity has courted controversy for using a casteist slur. In 2017, Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty were at the receiving end for remarks of the same nature. Salman then described his dancing style as that of a ‘bhangi’, and the latter used the word to describe how she looked like at home.