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Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar Calls Ramcharitmanas Potassium Cyanide, Cites Baba Nagarjun, Lohia

Nishtha Anushree

Sep 15, 2023, 12:56 PM | Updated 12:56 PM IST

Bihar Education Minister and RJD leader Chandra Shekhar
Bihar Education Minister and RJD leader Chandra Shekhar

Bihar's Education Minister Chandra Shekhar, once again found himself in a controversial situation when he likened Ramcharitmanas, a Hindu religious text based on the Ramayana, to potassium cyanide.

During an event on Hindi Diwas (14 September), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader said, "If you serve 56 kinds of dishes and mix potassium cyanide into it, would you eat it? The same analogy applies to the scriptures of Hinduism."

Scientifically speaking, exposure to potassium cyanide can cause headaches, confusion, dizziness, anxiety, pounding of the heart, and even unconsciousness and death. It can also cause nosebleeds and sores in the nose and changes in the blood cell count.

He further noted that numerous authors, including Baba Nagarjun and Lohia, have also criticized these scriptures. Chandra Shekhar expressed his strong objection to Ramcharitmanas, emphasizing that his stance on it would persist throughout his life. He cited remarks made by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat on the same subject.

Additionally, Professor Chandra Shekhar remarked, "Unless the caste system is abolished in this country, there will continue to be a need for reservation and a caste census."

In response to these statements, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) directed criticism towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. BJP spokesperson Neeraj Kumar questioned whether Nitish Kumar was aware of Chandra Shekhar's continuous controversial comments about Ramcharitmanas. He also suggested that if the minister had a problem with it, he should consider changing his religion.

Chandra Shekhar has previously also stirred controversy with his comments about Ramcharitmanas. In January, he asserted that Ramcharitmanas "spreads hatred in society" and argued that it contributes to division and animosity. He specifically mentioned that certain parts of Ramcharitmanas opposed education for Dalits, backward communities, and women, which had led to criticism and opposition.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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