Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar on January 11 stoked a controversy after he claimed that Ramcharitmanas, an epic Hindu religious book which is based on Ramayana, “spreads hatred in the society”.
While addressing the students at the 15th convocation ceremony of Nalanda Open University, he described Ramcharitmanas and Manusmriti as books that divide society.
“Why was Manusmriti burnt, because many abuses were given in it against a large section. Why was Ramcharitmanas resisted and which part was resisted? Lower caste people were not allowed to access education and it is said in the Ramcharitmanas that lower caste people become poisonous by getting an education as a snake becomes after drinking milk.”
He said that Manusmriti and Ramcharitmanas are books that spread hatred in society as it prevents Dalits-backwards and women in society from getting an education.
“ Manusmriti, Ramcharitmanas, Bunch of Thoughts by Guru Golwalkar... these books are books that spread hatred. Hatred will not make the country great, love will make the country great,” added Prof. Chandra Shekhar.
Earlier this month, Kerala Minister and Communist leader M.B. Rajesh made a similar statement about Manusmriti claiming that the cruel caste system is based on Manusmriti.
Speaking at a programme of Varkala Sivagiri Mutt, Mr. Rajesh had said, “If Kerala has an acharya, it’s Sree Narayana guru and not Adi Shankaracharya. Shankaracharya was an advocate of the cruel caste system that is based on Manusmriti. Sree Narayana guru worked to weed out the caste system. Shankaracharya has not only supported the caste system but has also been its spokesperson.”
‘It is the saffron which should apologise’
Reiterating his statement, Prof. Chandra Shekhar on January 12 said that certain parts of Ramcharitmanas propagate discrimination again certain castes.
On whether he would apologise for his statement as the Opposition BJP has demanded, he said it is the saffron which should apologise for not being aware of facts.