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  • Vrinda Singh Chauhan

Burning Ravana or resurfacing the hatred inside?

Ravana, the demon king, slumped in dire fire today, on Vijay Dashmi, also known as Dussehra worldwide. Not just happened today but is happening since time immemorial, a lot before, you, me and our grandees were born. Welcome back In the heat of the moment readers, the long wait is finally over. We are back again with a story which will compel you to think over our ways of celebrating the victory of good over evil. So, it all starts with preparations of large Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath puppets in a row. The fascinating developments are done to burn them down and feel proud of our old allegory. Is this a belief, or a custom? Who will decide that? Let's traverse India part by part and culture by culture, to understand, "Who Ravana was and Why is so evil? Ravana, first cried in the Bisrakh, approximately, 30 Km from New Delhi, the capital of India. Ravana wasn't a pure demon by blood. He was the son of the great sage, Vishrava, and the demon queen Kaikeshi. Bisrakh is located in Uttar Pradesh and is a stern admirer of Ravana, praying for his peace of soul in all the nine days leading to Dussehra. They believe, Ravana was a "Maha-Brahman" and had an unparalleled intelligence. Spending his childhood like every other prince, Ravana grew up into a music lover and an able administrator. It was time for getting engaged in worldly affairs. Hence, Ravana met Mandodari, the princess of Mandsaur, a village situated in Madhya Pradesh. The 35 feet tall statue of Ravana in Mansaur, is still praised as the son-in-law of the Mandsaur village. The marriage rituals were carried in Mandore, a village in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The place of the marriage was later named as Ravan ki Chanwari. The Dussehra day is specially treated as Shraad and Pind Daan day for Ravana. So, Mr Ravana holds the title of Son-in-Law in two regions of Aryan dominating India, one is Mandsaur, and the other is Mandore. The people of Ravangram, a village located in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh believe that the arrow hit region of Ravana's body, i.e., the stomach would still be in pain. To ease it out, the demon half-demon king is treated with oil in naval as a religious offering from the locals. The oil is applied in the naval of a 10 feet tall leaning statue of Ravana. The Aryans have a sense of respect for Ravana and proffer him as a great Shiva devotee. The land of Gods, Uttrakhand, contemplate Ravana differently. The wrath of God falls upon those who dare to celebrate Dussehra, primarily by burning or disrespecting Ravana's effigy. In the world full of cynicism, at least the people of Baijnath, Kangra, Uttrakhand can trust Ravana, as God in disguise. Dravidians had always felt burning of Ravana's effigy as a humiliation to their race, due to which both the Aryans and Dravidians suffer annihilation in their unity as Indians. That is the reason why Southern India is abhorrent to Dussehra or Vijay Dashmi. The people in the South believe there is nothing wrong in celebrating the victory of good over evil but shouldn't be marked by defaming and insulting Ravana, who is treated with respect and treated as God by Aryans in North India sporadically. Dravidians have a voracious love for him, which alienates them from the Hindu religion too. The residents of Paraswadi, Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, call themselves Ravanwanshis, believing the Aryan invaders, the cause of Ravana death. The population of this tribe is on an extinction, reducing them to just 300 people, as per 2017 tribe extinction reports. These people call themselves, Gond. It might sound churlish, but a writer is mighty in deciding the mindset of the masses.

The Ramayan suffered the same fate when it was written by two different writers, Valmiki and Tulsidas. Ramayan looks more aberrant if the Tulsidas version is read, which makes Ravana more devilish.

Several adjurations made by most of the Dravidians and some Aryans, to abolish the burning of Ravana effigies have gone unheard and unread. India believes in progressive meliorism, and it's high time to stop adducing Ravana as a devil. One should not forget, the demons killed by Devi, the Goddess Durga, are shown full respect because they met their fate in the hands of the Goddess. Hence, their effigies are kept in parallel to Goddess Durga. A very less fact known to people is, Ravana on his death bed, blessed Lakshman, when he obeyed Lord Ram to seek Ravana's blessings. It's time for self-actualisation. Can we equal Ravana inside? Are we all skilful and intelligent like Ravana? Why are our frustration and impatience turning wild, making us hostile enough to commit connivance? If customs like Child Marriage, Sati and Female foeticide has gained impetus and are on the verge of extinction in the light of knowledge, why is the likeness of experience being burnt every year to satiate the hatred inside? It's time to kill the hate inside, which developed in Ravana too for his mischievous sister Suparnkha got her nose and ears cut by Lakshmana. His hatred led him to an end; he meets every year. Where are we heading to? Time to think and contemplate!


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