Maurya writes to Prez, PM on Ramcharitmanas

Lucknow, Feb 9 (IANS): After creating a major controversy over verses in Ramcharitmanas, Samajwadi Party general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya has now sent a letter to President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding an amendment to or a ban on the allegedly objectionable verses of the Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas.

In a five-page letter to the President and the Prime Minister, Maurya said he seeks a ban on some of the objectionable parts of some couplets of the Ramcharitmanas in which "women, tribals, Dalits and backward people have been humiliated on a daily basis at the social and religious level."

The verses should be banned or amended to give respect to "the victim class", he said.

Maurya also said the Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas composed by Goswami Tulsidas in the middle of the 16th century is very popular among the masses in North India. The medieval feudal casteist thoughts were reflected in the epic written in the Awadhi language, he said.

In some of the verses, the caste system based on discrimination has been justified, he claimed. An attempt has been made to establish the supremacy of a particular caste while the Shudras have been termed lowly and ignoble, he said, adding that in some of the verses, offensive words have been used for women. The references made in the epic throw light on the medieval thinking of Tulsidas, he said.

"After 90 years of struggle, India gained independence. The Constitution drafted by Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar reflects the thoughts that spread among the masses during the freedom struggle and the dream of modern Indians. Ambedkar said the aim is to establish a society based on equality and justice. In the Constitution, it is clearly mentioned that there should be no discrimination based on religion, caste and sex," he said.

"The Ramcharitmanas is literature based on the story of Ram. It is like other literary texts - Sursagar written on Lord Krishna by Surdas and Padmavat written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi on the love story of Ratansen and Padmavati.

"According to well-known literary figure A.K. Ramanujam, there are around 300 Ramayans in India. But the story-tellers have made Ramcharitmanas a religious text. Why is religious importance being given to this Hindu epic? Is it not an effort to establish the supremacy of the Brahmins and to make Dalits a lowly community?" Maurya asked.

"The country will run according to the Constitution and not on the Ramcharitmanas. The Constitution protects the rights of the deprived and weaker sections," he said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who comes from a backward community, has also spoken over the insult he suffered on being called lowly. The story tellers and members of the Brahmin community are using loudspeakers to recite Ramcharitmanas. The Dalits, tribals, OBCs and women are forced to face the ignominy. It is necessary to remove the objectionable verses or ban it," he said.



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