UP minister Chaudhary Lakshmi Narayan says Lord Hanuman was similar to a Jat.(ANI Photo/Twitter)
UP minister Chaudhary Lakshmi Narayan says Lord Hanuman was similar to a Jat.(ANI Photo/Twitter)

First Dalit, then Muslim, now Jat: Hanuman battles identity crisis in UP

While campaigning during the assembly elections last month, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath reportedly 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.”
By Manish Chandra Pandey | Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UPDATED ON DEC 21, 2018 02:05 PM IST

The BJP seems united on the issue of Lord Ram but appears divided on his loyal aide Hanuman.

Less than a month after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath courted controversy over his remark allegedly claiming that Lord Hanuman was a Dalit, a BJP lawmaker and a minister queered the pitch; one suggesting that the lord was a Muslim, and the other claiming him to be an OBC, Jat.

While the BJP lawmakers –Chaudhary Laxmi Narain, who is a minister too, and Bukkal Nawab, an MLC - were attributing caste and religion to Hanuman who is revered by Hindus as ‘sankat mochak (remover of difficulties)’, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) jumped in claiming that Bukkal Nawab’s description of Hanuman as Muslim in fact proved the ‘Hindu past of Muslims.’

Adityanath, who compared Lord Hanuman to a Dalit during a poll campaign in Rajasthan on November 27, had later said that he was misquoted. He had said he meant that Hanuman belonged to all including Dalits. However, his minister and his party’s lawmaker both came with interesting reasons for their attribution; both inside and outside the assembly.

“The Lord is named Hanuman and so many Muslims have similar rhyming names like Zeeshan, Furqan, Ehsaan,” Bukkal Nawab said outside the UP assembly on Thursday. Nawab had quit the Samajwadi Party last year to join BJP.

“Hindus don’t have such names like Rehan, Furqan etc as Muslims do and hence I believe that with Muslim names rhyming like Hanuman are proof of Hanuman being a Muslim,” Nawab said. The VHP however felt that Nawab’s remark was an admission by Muslims of their ‘Hindu past.’

“It’s nice that Muslims are describing Hanuman as their own as this only goes on to prove their Hindu past and that they became Muslims under pressure,” said VHP’s Ayodhya-based spokesman Sharad Sharma.

Inside the upper house of the UP assembly, BJP minister Chaudhary Laxmi Narayan said “I believe Lord Hanuman was a Jat because like the community he too has a tendency to intervene in others’ matters. So yes, he was a Jat,”.

Asking BJP to come to a conclusion on Hanuman, Congress MLC Deepak Singh said, “They should first decide which caste they feel Hanumanji belongs to. For us he is a lord after caste and religious considerations but BJP will be punished for committing such sin,”.

The Samajwadi Party’s Rajyapal Kashyap said the difference within the BJP came to fore over their different attributions on Hanuman.

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