Patna: Former Bihar chief minister and leader of the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) Jitan Ram Manjhi kicked up a row by alleging that Lord Ram was an imaginary character created out of Valmiki’s Ramayan and Tulsidas’s Ram Charit Manas and nothing else.
Manjhi, who is an ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), made this controversial statement at a function to mark the birth anniversary of B R Ambdekar and Mata Sabri Mahotsava at Sikandra block of Jamui district, on Thursday.
He said Lord Ram did not ever exist. “Ram was just a character of great religious epics of great poets like Valmiki and Tulsidas. I have great regards for many things written in Ramayana, which contained many good things. I don’t believe that Ram ever lived,” said Manjhi.
Apparently seeking to strike an emotional chord with the crowd, which mainly consisted of Dalits, Manjhi exhorted the community not to worship Hindu gods. “Scheduled Caste people should stop worshiping. Brahmins who eat meat and drink alcohol, indulge in telling lies and hence they (SCs) should stay away from them. Hence they should also not be worshipped,” said Manjhi.
Manjhi is no stranger to making outrageous statements against Hindu gods and the tradition of Hinduism. In December last year itself, there was a big uproar when he made offending remarks against Brahmins. “SCs shall not invite Brahmins to their homes for puja. Why don’t they (Brahmins) eat at our homes after the ritual, and ask for money instead,” the former CM had questioned.
Earlier, Manjhi had also referred to Hinduism as the worst religion, quoting Ambedkar. He had said that Ambedkar did not join Hinduism before he died in 1956, he died a Buddhist.
BJP spokesperson Nikhi Anand took serious exception to Manjhi’s observation, but exercised restraint in his comments. He said that Manjhi is a senior leader, but is a confused man. “How could he question the existence of Ram, when he revered Mata Sebri? Does Mata Sebri exist without Lord Ram,” said Anand.