- Bukkal Nawab said although Hanuman was loved by all, he was a Muslim
- He based this on the theory that many Muslim names rhyme with Hanuman
- Bukkal Nawab is a BJP councillor in Uttar Pradesh
Weeks after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath kicked up a storm by branding Lord Hanuman as a Dalit, another BJP leader has come up with a different theory on the Hindu god's identity. Bukkal Nawab, a councillor with the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, has said that Hanuman was actually a Muslim.
"Hanuman belonged to the entire world. He was loved by people of every religion, every sect, every community. But, as far as my beliefs go, he was a Muslim," news agency ANI quoted Mr Nawab as saying.
The politician's reason for arriving at this conclusion was equally curious. "I say Hanuman was a Muslim because the names of people in our religion, such as Rehman, Ramzan, Farman, Zishan and Qurban, rhyme with the god's," he said, before rattling off a few more Islamic names -- Imran, Furqan, Sultan and Sulaimaan -- to further buttress his claim.
This is not the first time the Uttar Pradesh politician has courted a controversy with his remarks. In 2017, while he was still a member of the opposition Samajwadi Party, the councillor spurred protests by saying that he will donate Rs 15 crore for constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister was campaigning for the BJP in the run-up to the Rajasthan assembly elections in Alwar last month when he allegedly claimed that Hanuman was a "deprived Dalit" who lived in the mountains. Even as protests broke out, with cabinet colleague Om Prakash Rajbhar saying that it is "wrong to divide gods on the basis of caste" and a right-wing group coming up with a legal notice, Mr Adityanath attempted damage control by claiming that he had been misquoted by the media.
The controversy, however, refused to die down. A few weeks later, former BJP parliamentarian Savitri Bai Phule adopted a similar line on the issue. "Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and a slave of the manuwadi people. He was a Dalit and a human. When he gave his all for Lord Ram, then why he was given a tail and his face blackened? Why was he made a monkey?" she questioned, asserting that Dalits should also be considered human.
(With inputs from ANI)