Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
HomePoliticsYogi Adityanath’s ‘Hanuman-Dalit’ remark has put off BJP’s loudest cheerleaders — seers

Yogi Adityanath’s ‘Hanuman-Dalit’ remark has put off BJP’s loudest cheerleaders — seers

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Several seers have lashed out at Yogi Adityanath for bringing politics into religion with his comments about Hanuman’s caste.

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has left many fellow seers fuming with his recent comments about Hanuman, a development that may hurt the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Adityanath was widely quoted as having said at a recent poll rally in Rajasthan that Hanuman was Dalit, even though some have disputed this version, claiming that he just said the deity took every community along.

Even so, several seers have taken objection to the remarks, saying the firebrand head of Gorakhpur’s powerful Gorakhnath math was being too political even in religious matters.

Morari Bapu, a spiritual leader known to be respected by PM Narendra Modi — the BJP included his praise of Modi in its 2017 campaign for Gujarat — slammed Adityanath for “binding” Hanuman in religion, gotra and caste.

“Stop this,” he said. “Because of your selfish reasons, India has come in harm’s way. We are trying to unite it, [and] you are focused on breaking it.

“Today… Everyone is out to find the caste of Hanuman…” Morari Bapu said during a sermon in Bihar. “Hanuman is air, he is life.”

Also read: Elevating Yogi Adityanath is becoming PM Modi’s biggest blunder now, not demonetisation

‘Not statues, just temple’

Talking to ThePrint, Acharya Dharmendra, “accused number 1” in the Babri masjid demolition case, said Adityanath was using religion to score political brownie points.

“What he said about Hanuman being Dalit was completely wrong,” he said. “If he said it to secure Dalit votes, this would be a dangerous trend.

“This will automatically lead to Dalits taking over Hanuman temples. Now, if the priest is Brahmin and deity a Dalit, who do you think would be supreme? His statement was an example of him being dim,” Dharmendra said.

At Sunday’s ‘Dharmasabha’ organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Sadhvi Rithambara, a Hindutva activist, also took a dig at the CM.

“Mere lighting of lamps and building of statues won’t solve the problem,” she said. “We want Ram temple. Do something about it.”

She was referring to Adityanath’s plans to build a 221-metre Ram statue in Ayodhya.

Asked by a TV channel about Yogi’s remarks on Hanuman and Morari Bapu’s criticism of it, she said, “I don’t know why he [Yogi] said it. It was not a brilliant thing to say.

“Morari Bapu was right in saying that Hanuman is air and, being born of air makes him the lord of everyone,” she added. “If you want to find Ram, he will be in Hanuman’s heart.”

Sources said the disenchantment of seers, who reportedly played a big role in consolidating various groups in favour of the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, did not bode well for the party.

Also read: Where was Yogi Adityanath when Bulandshahr was burning?  

Some support for Yogi

There was, however, one seer who came to Adityanath’s defence.

Swami Hansadevacharya Maharaj, a prominent seer leading the Ram temple movement, said Adityanath had been misquoted.

“He did not say that Hanuman is Dalit,” he said. “It was twisted by people. Even Bapu should have cross-checked before saying anything against Yogi. What he meant was that Hanuman is of Dalits and downtrodden.”

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