Ramayana – A Twisted Tale of Aryanization (Part 1)

History is always written by the victors, and they will do anything to justify their cause and paint themselves as glorious as possible.

Ramayana, as considered by many, if not all, is an epic telling the stories of good wining over evil. How Ram, the self-righteous prince of Ayodhya took on the demon king Ravana, and ended his reign of terror. Kids in India are often told how good it is, to be like Ram. We even fought in a communal riot to decide whether to build a Ram temple or to keep a Babri Mosque, in Ayodhya. And even today we witness the celebration of Ram Navami all around India, with kids carrying swords and knives and what not. Because the self-proclaimed lawmakers or rather Hindu Nationalists believe in bringing back the Ram Rajatwa or the rules of Ram. So that raises two obvious question, how good Ram himself was and how true the story of Ramayan is. And under the light of recent statement made by a BJP MP, who said in an interview, defending India’s anti-racist tag “We are not racist, we live with the black people of south India”, it can be said that, we even today we think of South Indian as different from Indians because of their black (?) skin and we are doing them a great favor by sharing our country with them.

Let us for a moment think of the events of the Ramayana as true fact, which actually took place some thousands of years ago. And let’s start by drawing parallels between some events of Ramayana and some well documented facts.

The Indian sub-continent as known thousand of years back, consisted of various present day countries, it included the present day India, Bangladesh, Brahmadesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afganistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, all the way till Parsian Empire.

800px-EpicIndia

And here is a brief timeline to put things in perspective,

  • prehistoric
    Human habitation of India.
  • c. 5000 BCE – c. 1900 BCE
    The Indus Valley (or Harappan) Civilization.
  • c. 4000 BCE
    Indian village of Balathal inhabited.
  • c. 3000 BCE – c. 2600 BCE
    The rise of the great Indian cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa.
  • 2000 BCE
    Pepper is widely used in Indian cooking.
  • c. 1700 BCE – c. 1500 BCE
    Decline of the Harappan Culture in India.
  • c. 1700 BCE – 1100 BCE
    The Rig Veda written, mentioning the god Rudra (Shiva) for the first time.
  • c. 1700 BCE – 150 BCE
    The Vedic Period in India.
  • 1500 BCE
    The Indus Valley is invaded by Aryans – nomadic northerners from central Asia.
  • c. 1000 BCE
    The Aryans expand into the Ganges valley in India.
  • c. 700 BCE
    Indian scholars codify and reinterpret Aryan beliefs to create the Upanishads texts forming the basis of Hinduism.
  • c. 700 BCE
    India is divided into 16 Aryan states or kingdoms.

Now if you take a look in the timeline above, you will see that Indus Valley civilization was invaded by Aryans around 1500 BCE and just to give you a little heads up this is the key event that shaped many a things. The indigenous tribes of India were the people who established Mohenjodaro- Harappa Civilization, and it also included the tribes from southern part of India, the land mass below Vindhya Range, aboriginals from north east part of India, and tribal communities living in different Jungles. And unlike the Aryan tribe they were mostly dark skinned individuals living life of hunter gatherers in most of the parts. So it was not long after the Aryan Invasion, that they acquired the status of demons and monsters (Danavs, Daityas, and Rakshashas – meaning different classes of demons and monsters). But initially the reach of Aryan Civilization was confined in the northern territory of India thanks to the Vindhya Range in the Central West part of India and in sanskrit it means Obstructor, because it halted the expansion of Aryanization. this resulted in part ignorance of Aryans to the southern part of India, and gave the indigenous people of this part enough time to flourish on their own. Beyond the dense forests that covered most of this part, was another kingdom called Lanka (present day Sri Lanka), which became the cultural hub of southern India in its glorious days, free from the reach of Aryans. But the table turned soon with Ravana becoming the king.

Now before moving forward let us talk a bit about Ravana. Ravana himself was most religious and righteous king, his knowledge of medicines, technology, and every other thing was unparalleled  at his time. And soon he was considered the greatest foe of the Aryans. Because the secret knowledge that helped Aryans to expand their kingdom was not privy to Ravana. And like most of present day cases, he was deemed as monster king (Like how the middle east countries are often tagged as terrorist nations by USA just to justify their invasion of those countries and strip them off their natural resources).

And this brought the “Divine” conspiracy on the table. Because everyone knew the power of Ravana, his unparalleled war skills, and battle strategies and only a stupid can think of taking on Ravana alone and destroying him. So they needed someone who will help them get rid of this “threat” and all the Aryan tribes joined hand together to fight the “monster”. And Ram was chosen as the one who could fight Ravan, and help the Aryans to further their “noble” schemes. Hence started the story of Ramayana, the twisted tale of Aryanization. And that will be told in the second part of this series.

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