Seers in Uttar Pradesh have disapproved of recent remarks by politicians, sticking caste and creed labels on Lord Hanuman.
The seers expressed disapproval after state's Religious Affair Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary dubbed Lord Hanuman as a Jat, saying that like Jats, the deity never tolerated injustice to anybody, anywhere.
The minister made the remark Friday after another BJP leader dubbed Lord Hanuman as a Muslim on the ground that his name rhymed with Islamic names like Rahman, Arman, Qurban etc.
"There should be stringent action against those making such unsavoury remarks about God. The politicians must not drag God's name to reap political dividends," Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara of Ayodhya told PTI.
"This is absolutely wrong and simply despicable. Lord Hanuman is worshipped by a large section of the society cutting across religious lines," he said.
Mahant Ramdas' views were echoed by Mahant Raju Das of Ayodhya's Hanumangarhi temple too.
"Those making such frivolous remarks must be punished. They are unnecessarily dragging Lord Hanuman's name to realise their vested interests. This is simply unfortunate," Mahant Raju Das said.
Another seer from Lucknow too depricated the politicians' trend of sticking caste and creed label to Lord Hanuman.
"The politicians' act of associating Sankat Mochan with a particular religion or caste has pained me immensely," chief priest at Lucknow's Hanuman Setu temple Bhagwan Singh Bisht told PTI.
"How can we categorise God as belonging to one or the other religion, when the five elements of nature - fire, water, earth, space and air have none?" asked Bisht.
"Just like air is inhaled by the people of all caste and creed, Lord Hanuman too is worshipped by his followers from various religions," he pointed out.
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Terming the trend as "unfortunate", he urged politicos to refrain from doing so.
Uttar Pradesh minister Chaudhary had said Friday that the Hindu deity belonged to the Jat community.
"Jats are descendants of Lord Hanuman. Hanumanji was a Jat," the minister had told PTI.
"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," the minister explained the rationale behind his statement.
The minister's remarks had followed those of his party colleague and MLC Bukkal Nawab, who had on Thursday said that Lord Hanuman was "actually a Muslim".
Nawab, who left the Samajwadi Party to join the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, argued that the deity's name rhymed with those of Muslims, who are named after the deity.
He cited names like Rehman, Ramzan, Farman, Zishan, Qurban etc., to buttress his point.
Campaigning for the recent assembly elections, Chief Minister Adityanath had said last month, "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."
BJP MP Savitribai Phule, who quit the party recently, had agreed that Lord Hanuman was a Dalit, but an opponent of the "manuwadis."
"Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of 'manuwadi' people. He was a Dalit and a human. He did everything for Lord Ram, yet he was given a tail and his face blackened," she had said.
Incidentally, a Jain priest in Bhopal had claimed that 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.