Maharashtra leader Jitendra Awhad sparked controversy by claiming that Lord Ram, the revered Hindu deity, was not a vegetarian. Awhad, a Nationalist Congress Party MLA associated with the Sharad Pawar faction, said that Lord Ram, a Kshatriya, was a non-vegetarian and a hunter.
“We don’t read history and forget everything in politics. Ram is ours. Of us Bahujans. Who used to hunt to eat… Ram was never a vegetarian. He was a non-vegetarian. How can a man who lived in the jungle for 14 years remain a vegetarian,” Awhad stated, defending his viewpoint.
Facing criticism for his remarks, Awhad said, “Lord Ram was a Kshatriya, and all Kshatriyas are non-vegetarians.” He stood firm on his statement, adding that Kshatriyas, including Lord Ram, traditionally follow a non-vegetarian diet.
The controversy deepened as the BJP demanded January 22, the consecration day of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, to be declared a dry day and urged a ban on all non-vegetarian food. BJP MLA Ram Kadam criticized the Shiv Sena, suggesting that if the late Balasaheb Thackeray were alive, the party would have condemned Awhad’s comments.
Kadam wrote to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, requesting the declaration of January 22 as both a dry day and a vegetarian day in light of the upcoming Ram Temple consecration.
Responding to the backlash, Awhad dismissed the controversy, stating, “What is the controversy that what did Lord Ram eat? Someone will claim Lord Ram used to eat methi-bhaji (fenugreek leaves fritters). There was no rice at that time. Lord Ram was a Kshatriya, and Kshatriyas are non-vegetarians. I stand by what I said. 80% of India’s population are non-vegetarians; they are also devotees of Lord Ram.”