Political experts believe that the Ramcharitmanas, a famous Hindu text penned in the Awadhi language by Tulsidas in the 16th century, has been caught in the midst of the conflict between political parties.
They believe that Ramcharitmanas has been the centre of political criticism for the first time in its rich history.
In several places, its Sunderkand is recited by the Ramayana Mandals on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
According to historians, Ramcharitmanas, which consists of 12,800 lines divided into 1,073 couplets and seven kandas, is considered a popular work of Awadhi literature (Hindi literature).
Senior political analyst K. Vikram Rao said that raising questions on the text is basically irrelevant as it is a 500-year-old book. Its readings have been prevalent in Hindu weddings in India.
Rao added that the sudden questioning of it in 2023 reveals a certain motive of Hindus becoming "unified."
He said: "Secular Hindus can support the view that this is an attempt to secure votes."
Rao added that Ramcharitmanas has never been a subject of controversy if seen through the national perspective.
He commented: "Ram Manohar Lohia himself was an atheist. He started the Ramayana Mela. Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh also used to visit this fair. I don't know why the people of his party are raising questions."
Analyst Ratanmani Lal said that the discussion on the Ram Mandir issue will start in the next few months. "The talk of the temple's inauguration in January, 2024 is coming to light. In such a situation, the support of the Hindus may go to the ruling party. The opposition will definitely try to weaken this support, which is why they are questioning the book and the characters instead of raising questions about Ram Mandir," he added.
Honoured with the Sahitya Bhushan award and well versed in spirituality, Pramodkant Mishra said: "It is foolish to question the character of Lord Rama and it is not a matter of politics. Those who want to achieve cheap popularity engage in politics on this. The book is widely read in every household. This epic composed by Goswami Tulsidas, 500 years ago cannot become a means of selfishness."
He claimed that questioning the scriptures is a cheap means to get popularity.
Samajwadi Party National Spokesperson Ashutosh Verma said that objections are raised on a book if it creates a rift in the society, however this is not done by political leaders but by religious ones.
BJP state spokesperson Avneesh Tyagi said: "Ramcharitmanas is the book of faith of Hindus. It is considered epic. Opposing it shows mental bankruptcy."
The beginning of the dispute:
Retired Professor and writer K.S. Bhagawan from Karnataka stirred a controversy by making objectionable remarks against Hindu deity Lord Ram.
He commented: "He [Ram] used to sit and drink alcohol with Sita during the day, so Lord Ram is not ideal."
Bihar Education Minister Chandrashekhar while addressing the students at the convocation of Nalanda Open University in Patna, alleged that Ramcharitmanas is a book that spreads hatred and divides the society.
Uttar Pradesh's SP leader and Legislative Council member Swami Prasad said that the Shudra community was insulted in the Ramcharitmanas.
He said that certain couplets should be removed from such books or they should be banned.
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