LIFE STYLE
Rama, the great grandfather of the Indian Nation (which includes Pakistan and Bangladesh)
- JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU
Rama, the great grandfather of the Indian Nation (which includes Pakistan and Bangladesh)



I have called Mughal Emperor Akbar (1542-1605) the Father of the Indian Nation (see my article ‘Emperor Akbar—the real Father of the Indian Nation’ in my blog Satyam Bruyat). 

I have also called Emperor Ashoka (who ruled from 268 to 232 B.C.) the grandfather of the India Nation.

Actors portraying the roles of Ram, Lakshman and Sita arrive in Ayodhya on a chopper decked up to resemble the mythological Pushpak Viman

 
Now let me mention about Rama, whom I regard as the great grandfather of the Indian Nation.

Today, in the polarised and emotionally surcharged and communalised atmosphere which has been created by the ‘Hindutva’ forces  which have taken control over India, Rama may be depicted and regarded by the Indian minorities (particularly Muslims) as a fearsome oppressive entity, who symbolizes lynching, terrorizing and atrocities on them. But was Rama really like that?

We need not go into the controversy whether Rama was a mythological or historical figure, though it may be mentioned that behind every mythology there is usually some history. Homer’s Iliad is regarded Greek mythology, but some evidence of a Trojan war has been found by archaeologists. Similarly, my own opinion is that Rama was a great king who did good deeds, and was later transformed into a god.

Mughal emperor Akbar 
 
Indeed in the original Ramayana of Valmiki (in Sanskrit) Rama is not a God but a human being. He was a prince, who later became a king (of Ayodhya). It was about 2000 years later in the 16th century that he was transformed into a God by Tulsidas in his Ramcharitmanas.

In Valmiki’s Ramayana (which is the original Ramayana) there is a scene where King Dasharatha of Ayodhya having become old wants to anoint his eldest son Rama as his successor. But before doing so he invites the people of Ayodhya and asks them their opinion whether Rama is deserving to be their next king. The people of Ayodhya reply:

  Nikhilenanu poorvya cha pita putraan iva aurasaan
  Shrushushante cha woh shishya kachit varmasu danshitaah
  Iti woh purush vyaagrah sada Ramobhibhaashate
  Vyasaneshu manushyaanam bhrisham bhavati dukhitah
  Utsaveshu cha sarveshu pitev paritushyati

i.e.
"O King, your son Rama indeed deserves to be the king. He behaves like a father to the people. He grieves when the people are in sorrow ( due to some calamity or tragedy ), and is pleased like a father when the people celebrate festivals".

Emperor Ashoka 
 
So in the original Ramayana Rama is described as a father to the people, who cares for all of them. 

A true father takes care of all his children, and not that he takes care of only some but oppresses the others. So if Rama had been the king of India today he would have looked after the welfare of all people of India, and not that he would have only looked after Hindus but oppressed Muslims, Christians, Dalits etc. He would have given severe punishment to those who lynched Muslims or committed atrocities on them, vandalized Christian churches, or oppressed dalits. 

I submit that the ‘Hindutva‘ forces have tarnished Rama’s name, and it is time that the truth about him be told to the Indian people
 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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