Renowned Bollywood lyricist and former Rajya Sabha MP, Javed Akhtar, attended the Deepotsav program organized by MNS Chief Raj Thackeray in Mumbai on Thursday.
During the event, Akhtar said that Ram and Sita are not just Hindu deities but integral to the cultural heritage of India.
He said, “There are some people who have always been intolerant. Hindus are not like that. They have this great quality – generous and large-hearted. Don’t lose that, else you will become like others.” He further added, “We have learnt from Hindus’ way of living. Will you leave that?”
“While I am an atheist, I respect Maryada Purushottam Ram a lot. Lord Ram is a part of our culture and civilization. Ramayana is also our cultural heritage. That is why I have come to participate in the program,” Akhtar said, sitting alongside his lyricist partner Salim Khan and Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh.
He said that even those who don’t believe in any deity are inherently Hindu due to the culture, asserting that this cultural foundation has provided India with the attitude of democracy. Akhtar discouraged the notion of thinking one is right and everyone else is wrong, stating, “Whoever taught you this is wrong.”
At the event, Akhtar encouraged attendees to chant ‘Jai Siya Ram’ slogans, reminiscing about his childhood in Lucknow, where common greetings were exchanged with this phrase. He considered the words ‘Siya Ram’ as a symbol of love and unity, urging people to chant it as a unifying expression.
He said, “Therefore, it is a sin to think of Sita and Rama separately. The word Siya Ram is a symbol of love and unity. Siya and Ram were done by only one. His name was Ravana. So the one who does differently will be Ravana. So you chant Jai Siya Ram three times with me. Say Jai Siya Ram from today.”