Estranged Samajwadi leader Shivpal Yadav seeks caste proof of Hanuman

UP chief minister Adityanath had triggered a controversy by claiming that Hanuman was Dalit

By PTI in Varanasi
  • Published 8.12.18, 4:53 AM
  • Updated 8.12.18, 10:12 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Shivpal Yadav has threatened a sit-in if the caste certificate is not issued within a week. The Telegraph file picture

Estranged Samajwadi politician Shivpal Yadav’s new party has formally applied to the Varanasi district administration for a “caste certificate” for Hanuman, becoming the latest group to mock chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s claim that the monkey god was a Dalit.

The Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), launched in October after Shivpal fell out with nephew and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, has threatened a sit-in if the certificate is not issued within a week.

“As the chief minister has termed Lord Hanuman a Dalit and dragged him into petty caste politics, we want his caste certificate,” Harish Mishra, district chief of the new party’s youth wing, said.

A photograph of Hanuman has been attached to the application form, with Maharaj Keshari named as his father and Anjana Devi his mother, in keeping with the Ramayan.

Varanasi’s famous Sankat Mochan temple has been cited as his residence and “Dalit” written in the caste column, “amar” (immortal) in the age column, and “anant” (infinity) in the year-of-birth column.

Adityanath has triggered a controversy by telling an election rally in Rajasthan on November 28 that Hanuman was “a forest dweller, an underprivileged and a Dalit”.

His comment has been widely condemned as a political gimmick to woo Dalits and as a distortion of Hindu scriptures.

Over 300 members of the Dalit Utthan Sewa Samiti marched on Lucknow’s streets last week calling for Hanuman temples to be handed over to Dalit devotees and priests — a demand endorsed by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar.

A lawyer in Moradabad has petitioned a local court against Adityanath accusing him of hurting Hindu sentiments and playing politics with a Hindu god.

Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math (Uttarakhand) and Dwarka Peeth (Gujarat), has termed Adityanath’s statement “ignorant and sinful”, claiming Hanuman was an incarnation of Rudra (Shiva) and therefore a Brahmin.

A dissident MLA from the BJP has argued that gods don’t belong to any caste but to the whole of humanity.

The chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Nand Kumar Sai, has asserted that Hanuman was a tribal on the ground of there being “a Vanar gotra (monkey clan) among tribal communities”.

A Dalit MP who quit the BJP on Thursday, accusing the party of trying to divide society, has accepted that Hanuman was a Dalit but interpreted the matter in a way that won’t please Adityanath.

“Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of Manuwadi people. He did all for Lord Ram, but then why was he given a tail and his face blackened (in mythology)? Why was he made a monkey?” Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule asked.

She alleged that the upper castes called Dalits and backward castes bandar (monkey) and rakshas (demon). 

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