'How Is Ram Ideal?': KS Bhagawan's Remarks On Lord Ram Spark Row In Karnataka

Bhagawan quoted the Uttara Kaand of Valmiki Ramayan and gave inferences that Lord Rama indulged in drinking and also killed a Shudra sitting in penance.

A graffiti artist painting a scene from the Ramayana on a wall in India

Kannada writer Kallahalli Sannegowda Bhagawan's recent remarks on Lord Ram and Goddess Sita have sparked a controversy in Karnataka.

During an event on Friday, Bhagawan quoted the Uttara Kaand of Valmiki Ramayan and gave inferences that Ram indulged in drinking and also killed a Shudra sitting in penance.

Addressing a gathering in Karnataka's Mandya on Friday, ANI reported Bhagawan as saying, "There is talk about building a Rama Rajya...If one reads the Uttara Kanda of Valmiki's Ramayana, it will become evident that (Lord) Ram was not ideal. He did not rule for 11,000 years, but only for 11 years...Ram would sit with Sita in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day drinking...He sent his wife Sita into the forest and didn't bother about her"

"He chopped off the head of Shambuka, a Shudra, who was sitting in penance under a tree. How can he be ideal?” said Bhagwan further, also a scholar and rationalist.

Reactions And Complaints To Bhagawan's Remarks

Bhagawan's comments have not gone down with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu organisations. 

Vishwa Hindu Parshad (VSHP) Spokesperson Vinod Bansal said that Bhagawan is no intellectual but an enemy to intellectuals, reported Republic.

Speaking to Republic, Bansal said that those who commit evils themselves will only believe that the Gods will do the same.

"Society is slowly boycotting them (intellectuals) and soon these people will become outdated. The secular brigade born from Congress pushed these types of people to the top. They made them anti-Hindu and launched them in the market. No clarification should be given to these types of people on who Ram and Sita are. These are evil people who are not coming out of the evil mindset and are continuously 'attacking the Hindu religion'," he added.

Bansal had earlier hit news headlines after he raised objections to Deepika Padukone's saffron bikini in 'Besharam Rang' from Shahrukh Khan starrer Pathaan.

While several complaints have already been filed against Bhagawan as per several media reports, Karnataka BJP leader Vivek Reddy has requested the government to take "serious action" against Bhagwan and put him behind the bars.

As per a report in the Republic, Reddy called Bhagawan's statement a vulgar and cheap attack. Republic also reported Reddy urging for a social boycott of Bhagawan.

"If this had happened in any other county, what he would have faced, would be something very different. India is a very tolerant country, but we can't tolerate the shaming of our gods. there is a limit to everything", Reddy remarked.

Why we do not need the Ram Temple: Bhagawan

Bhagawan, 77, is an award-winning Kannada writer. He has worked on Hinduism, Indian culture, and history, and has translated the works of William Shakespeare. He is also not new to controversies as he drew attacks, bans, and controversies with the 2018 book Rama Mandira Yake Beda (Why we do not need the Ram Temple)

Several complaints were filed against him, including by the Karanataka BJP leader N Ravi Kumar over his book. The BJP government had dropped the book, which opposed the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, from all public libraries run by the state in Karnataka. The writer had said that according to Valmiki Ramayan, Lord Ram drank  'intoxicants' and also made Sita consume them.

In 2021, a city-based lawyer, Meera Raghavendra, threw ink at the scholar who was on his way to a Bengaluru court. Meera had shared the video on social media claiming that her actions arose from Bhagawan's alleged insults to Hinduism. He has also received death threats following the murder of noted Kannada epigraphist and National Sahitya Akademi Award winner Prof MM Kalburgi.

In 2015, Bhagawan told Hindustan Times, "I want to say this to the people who killed Prof Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, and are now threatening to kill me: You can attack us and tear us to pieces but our works will live on. They can kill me but that won't change my stand."