The debate over Lord Hanuman continued on Friday, with an Uttar Pradesh minister claiming that the Hindu deity belonged to the Jat community.
“Jats are descendants of Lord Hanuman. Hanumanji was a Jat,” Uttar Pradesh Religious Affairs Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said.
His remarks follow those of his party colleague and MLC Bukkal Nawab, who on Thursday said Lord Hanuman was “actually a Muslim”. Last month, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had claimed that the monkey god was a Dalit.
Explaining the rationale behind his statement, Chaudhary said, “Lord Ram’s wife, goddess Sita, was abducted by Ravan, but Lanka was burnt by Hanumanji. It’s injustice being done to someone by someone and the third person does not know either of them. This is the nature of Jats... they intervene whenever any injustice is done to anybody.”
This is the latest in a series of identities that have been attributed to Lord Hanuman.
On Thursday, Nawab, who left the Samajwadi Party to join the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, argued that the deity’s name was phonetically similar to the names among Muslims and many of them are named after him.
“Hamara manana hai Hanuman ji Musalman thhe. Isliye Musalmanon ke andar jo naam rakha jata hai...Rehman, Ramzan, Farman, Zishan, Qurban...Jitne bhi naam rakhey jaate hain, woh karib-karib unhi par rakhe jaate hain,” the legislator had said.
Campaigning for the recently concluded assembly elections, Adityanath had said, “Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west.”
On December 4, BJP MP Savitribai Phule took exception to the manner in which the deity is depicted.
“Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of ‘manuwadi’ people. He was a Dalit and a human. He did everything for Lord Ram, then why was he given a tail and his face blackened,” she had asked.
A Jain priest in Bhopal has, however, claimed Lord Hanuman was neither a Dalit nor a tribal, but a Jain.
Acharya Nirbhay Sagar Maharaj, who heads a Jain temple in Samasgad, nearly 25 km from Bhopal, claimed that according to Jain scriptures, Lord Hanuman was a Jain. He was one of the 169 great persons identified in Jainism.