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Former Bihar CM Manjhi’s comment on Lord Ram sparks row

Former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) president Jitan Ram Manjhi. File   | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

Former Bihar Chief Minister and president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) Jitan Ram Manjhi’s comment on Lord Ram and the Ramayan sparked a row on Wednesday, with many political parties criticising him.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders launched an attack on Mr. Manjhi, whose party is part of the National Democratic Alliance in the State, and said he should delete the word ‘Ram’ from his name.

The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress leaders too condemned Mr. Manjhi’s comment and said the relevance of Lord Ram in Indian society was not to be questioned and Mr. Manjhi’s comment was aimed at gaining “political mileage”.

“No one can erase the existence of Lord Ram and the relevance of Ramayan from our society. Mr. Manjhi says all such things to be in the news,” said State BJP spokesman Prem Ranjan Patel.

BJP MLA from Bisfi in Madhubani Hari Bhushan Thakur ‘Bachoul’ asked, “If Mr. Manjhi does not accept the existence of Lord Ram, then why his parents named him Jitan ‘Ram’ Manjhi...he should delete ‘Ram’ from his name”. Party leader Nikhil Anand said, “a political leader of Mr. Manjhi’s stature should not make any comment which hurts others’ sentiment and create controversy”.

Some other BJP leaders called Mr. Manjhi an “atheist who doesn’t have any idea of the country’s culture and civilisation”.

Opposition RJD and Congress leaders Bhai Birendra and Prem Chandra Mishra too said that Mr. Manjhi should desist from making such comments. “He [Mr. Manjhi] may have said this to gain political mileage and be in the news,” the leaders said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Manjhi had said “I don’t consider the Ramayan to be a true story, nor do I accept the fact that Lord Ram was a great historical person”.

Mr. Manjhi said this while reacting to BJP MLA and Minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, Neeraj Kumar Singh Bablu who had recently said that the “teachings of the Ramayan should be included in the school syllabus in Bihar, like Madhya Pradesh”.

“When I was a child, I used to listen to stories from the Ramayan or from the life of Lord Ram from my grandmother. If the teachings of Ramayan or Lord Ram are included in school syllabus there will be no need to listen to those stories from our grandmothers,” said the Minister of Forest, Environment and Climate Change.


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 2:42:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/former-bihar-cm-manjhis-comment-on-lord-ram-sparks-row/article36605165.ece

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