Dr. Jitendra Awhad, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sharad Panwar fraction, has made a claim that has divided the internet. Awhad said Lord Ram was a non-vegetarian during his exile as there was a lack of vegetarian food.
During an event in Shirdi, Jitendra Awhad asserted that Lord Rama was a non-vegetarian, challenging the notion of him being a vegetarian during his 14-year forest exile. Awhad questioned, “Where would a person living in the forest for 14 years find vegetarian food? Is it correct or not?”
He further remarked, “We often overlook history and let politics cloud our judgment. Ram belongs to us, the Bahujans. Ram, who hunted for his sustenance, was never a vegetarian. How could a man living in the jungle for 14 years adhere to a vegetarian diet?”
In response to Awhad’s claims, several leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for Jitendra Awhad’s immediate arrest. BJP leader Ram Kadam speculated how Balasaheb, if alive, would have strongly criticized those labeling Lord Ram as a non-vegetarian in today’s Saamna newspaper.
Additionally, Kadam has taken legal action by filing a complaint to register an FIR against Jitendra Awhad, a leader from the NCP-Sharad Pawar faction, for his statement asserting that Lord Ram was a “non-vegetarian.”
Was Shri Ram a Non-Vegetarian?
Various individuals hold different perspectives regarding whether Lord Rama followed a vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet. However, according to the Valmiki Ramayana, some Shlokas suggest Lord Rama engaged in hunting.
Certain political figures who assert that Lord Rama was non-vegetarian often cite Ayodhya Kanda 2-52-102, which describes Rama and Lakshmana hunting four deer—Varaaha, Rishya, Prisata, and Mahaaruru—taking the pure portions for themselves due to hunger during their exile.
Several other references also support the idea that Lord Rama consumed meat, but this viewpoint is not universally accepted. Chief priest Acharya Satyendra Das of Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra challenged statements made by NCP leader Jitendra Awhad, labeling them as false.
According to Das, there is no mention in the scriptures that Lord Ram had non-vegetarian food during his exile; rather, it is documented that he consumed fruits. Das strongly refuted Awhad’s claims, emphasizing that such false statements insult Lord Ram, who is considered a vegetarian deity.