Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi stoked a controversy on Thursday when he said Lord Ram was not a God but a character created by Valmiki and Tulsidas. He further added that he did not revere Lord Ram.
#WATCH | Jamui: Ex-Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi says, “Ram wasn’t a God. Tulsidas-Valmiki created this character to say what they had to. They created ‘kavya’ & ‘mahakavya’ with this character. It states a lot of good things & we revere that. I revere Tulsidas-Valmiki but not Ram..” pic.twitter.com/ayrQvSfdH1— ANI (@ANI) April 15, 2022
“I don’t believe in Ram. Ram was not God. Ram was a character created by Tulsidas and Valmiki to spread their message,” former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said while speaking at an event to mark the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, the chief architect of India’s constitution.
“They wrote the Ramayan and there are many good lessons in their writings. We believe that. We believe in Tulsidas and Valmiki, not Ram,” said Mr Manjhi, the chief of the Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) that is a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Mr Manjhi, whose son Santosh Manjhi is in the Nitish Kumar-BJP cabinet in Bihar, also cited the instance of Lord Ram eating the fruits tasted by Shabari to remark on the alleged caste divide in the country.
“If you believe in Ram, then the story we always heard is that Ram ate fruit tasted by Shabari. You will not eat the fruit we bite into but at least eat what we touch,” Mr Manjhi said, seemingly referring to the caste divide in the country.
This is not the first time that Manjhi has made such controversial remarks against Lord Ram. Last year, Manjhi refused to consider Lord Ram as God and also made derogatory remarks against Brahmin priests during a meeting of the Bhuiyan-Mushahar community held in Patna.
It is also worth noting that Manjhi’s latest remarks came hot on the heels of clashes that were witnessed across several parts of the country during the Ram Navami celebrations. Violence broke out at least in 5 states, including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, where Hindu processions on Ram Navami came under attack.