Manjhi uses profanity for Brahmins, backtracks later

06:48 PM Dec 19, 2021 | PTI |

Patna: Bihar’s outspoken former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has ended up with his foot in the mouth, much to the embarrassment of the ruling NDA in the state of which he is a part.


The Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader, who is on the wrong side of 70, is in news for having blurted an expletive against Brahmins while making a clumsy attempt at Dalit radicalism on Saturday night.

At a function of “Bhuiyan-Musahar” community, the most backward among Dalits, Majhi sought to admonish Dalits for taking up rituals of caste Hindus by whom, he claimed, they continue to be looked down upon.

He, however, backtracked later, asserting he had used that word to fellow Dalits to instil self-respect in them.

Video footage of the function has gone viral on social media in which Manjhi, a party-hopper who now heads his own outfit HAM, can be heard uttering the word “haraami” (bastard) for the priestly class who, according to him, refuse to take food offered by Dalit clients but have no qualms in accepting cash from them.


His ungainly attempt at, perhaps, doing an Ambedkar or a Kanshi Ram, has put Manjhi, whose son is a minister in the Nitish Kumar government, in a tight spot.

Brahmins, a large section of whom may take offence to the indiscreet remark, are by and large supporters of the BJP, the largest constituent of the NDA to which Manjhi owes his belated prominence.

A former sidekick of Kumar by whom he was nominated for the highest seat of power in the state in 2014, Manjhi found his standing soar when Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that his unceremonious removal next year was an insult to the “Mahadalit”.

Shivanand Tiwary, the Brahmin face of opposition RJD, denounced the use of the intemperate ion 2014 by Manjhi, while offering a socialist interpretation.

“When some people complained to Gandhi about Ambedkar’s harshness in criticizing caste Hindus, the Mahatma had said it was a surprise that Dalits were not getting violent given the long history of inhuman treatment meted out to them,” Tiwary said.

“Moreover, Manjhi has a point when he attacks Hindu ritualistic and priestcraft. These things have caused many Dalits to embrace other faiths,” said the RJD national vice-president.

The BJP, though understandably unhappy, seems unwilling to join the issue with Manjhi, wary of upsetting social equations in a state where it is less formidable than elsewhere in the Hindi heartland.

“There should be social harmony. Nobody should make unsavoury remarks about any community”, was the tepid response of senior BJP leader and minister Nitin Nabin, whose comments were sought by journalists.

Meanwhile, Manjhi has characteristically come out with a sheepish disavowal.

“I used the word haraami for my fellow Dalits, to instil in them some self-respect. I did not use the word for Brahmins”, said Manjhi, much to the bemusement and bewilderment of scribes.


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