Union Cultural Minister says Sita’s birthplace “matter of faith” sparks row

The birthplace of Sita is a matter of faith and there is no historical evidence to prove that she was born in Bihar’s Sitamarhi, Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Opposition members seized the minister’s remarks to criticise the BJP-led government, saying Sita’s husband, Hindu god Ram, is a matter of faith too if the same logic is applied.

Ram and Sita are the principal characters of the epic Ramayana, and he is one of most revered gods in the Hindu pantheon. Sharma’s comments were in his written reply to a question in the House on whether the Centre has any historical proof about Sita’s birthplace.

“Sita’s birthplace is a matter of faith. There is no direct evidence of its existence. The Archaeological Survey of India has not undertaken any excavation in Sitamarhi district of Bihar and hence it does not have any historical evidence that Sitamarhi is Sita’s birthplace,” the reply in Hindi says.

Sharma’s reply irked several opposition members. Congress member Digvijaya Singh demanded an apology from the minister for hurting his religious sentiments about Sita’s birthplace.

“To say that the birthplace of Sita, wife of Lord Rama, is a matter of faith means even Lord Rama is a matter of faith for the government. Do they have any evidence of Rama marrying Sita?” Singh asked, mentioning that BJP has come to power by politically using issues such has Ram temple and Ram Setu.

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