Tulsidas a copy cat, claims JNU scholar

Tulsidas a copy cat, claims JNU scholar

Posthumous slur

“Had Tulsidas composed Ram Charitra Manas in the present era, he would be in jail on a charge of plagiarism, as his writings were nothing but a copy cat of Maharshi Valmiki’s Ramayan,” alleges Prof Tulsi Ram of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

The  renowned scholar, who is head of the JNU’s school of foreign languages, was delivering a key-note address here at the two-day national seminar on “Dalit Literature” organised jointly by the Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, and the Hindi Department of the Patna University.

Making a startling observation, Prof Ram said the orthodox Hindu society popularised Tulsidas simply because he was a Brahmin. “But Valmiki’s writings were ignored just because he was a Dalit,” he said.

Lashing out at the ancient Gurukul system, Prof Ram said: “It was meant to provide education only to Brahmins and Rajputs. No Gurukul ever allowed entry of Dalits or other marginalised sections of the society.”

Striking a similar chord, another renowned Dalit writer from Maharashtra, Laxman Gaikwad, said though the attitude of people have, of late, changed, a lot remains to be done. “Dalits are still treated as second-class citizens and they are yet to become part of the mainstream,” Gaikwad observed.

Regretting that Dalit literature has so far remained ignored, he said: “Dalit literature should be recognised by society. The authors from this section should be encouraged.”

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