If you are reading it for the first time, please read the previous parts here,
Part 1: https://rakshitchronicle.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/ramyana-a-twisted-tale-of-aryanization-part-1/
Part 2: https://rakshitchronicle.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/ramayana-a-twisted-tale-of-aryanization-part-2/
Part 3: https://rakshitchronicle.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/ramayana-a-twisted-tale-of-aryanization-part-3/
So, with Ravana being defeated and killed and Bibhishan taking up the role of the new king of Lanka, cementing the alliance between the indigenous South Indian community and the Aryan community, it was time for Ram to go back to his own kingdom. While for most of us the story of Ramayana ends here, for me this is another chapter of high importance. Why?, well keep reading.
Ram is back in town, I mean his kingdom, his father is dead and Ram is the new king of Ayodhya. But soon, people of the kingdom started talking about how Sita was abducted by a “Rakshasa” (monster) and the possibilty of getting violated in the process. Some rumors also hinted that may be she was raped or molested by Ravana and everyone soon started questioning the morality of Sita. Well do you see any wrong in that? Because I don’t see any. As this is long been a practice of our beloved Indian society. If a lady is touched by someone else other than her “MAN” without her consent, it’s her fault, though we never teach her how to fight back. Because according to Indian culture, a lady always should be the damsel in distress who can only be saved by a man. And, sweet lord if she fights back, she is the bad woman. Anyway, things have been like this and I guess it will be same for coming few year, looking at the present scenario.
So, just like how any good Indian husband would react to rumors of his wife being violated, Ram talked to Sita. And what did he tell? He asked Sita to prove that she was still pure and untouched and not violated by any other man, by facing the trial by fire. You see, that’s how you treat your wife who might be violated by other man (It’s a different matter altogether that Sita was untouched by Ravana). Because, come on, the fault is always the lady’s. So think of it, if Sita were violated by Ravana, and she failed in the trial by fire that would mean, that this was the end of the marriage for Sita and Ram, the ‘Maaryada Purushattam” (the epitome of righteousness).
Freight you not, there are people who defended Ram’s action by saying that he did what he did to please his people, but not because he wanted it. Well, I’ll take that arguement in account for a moment, and try to sketch a real life scenario. If two people are deeply in love with each other, so much so that you can bring down an entire kingdom by hook or crook, how coward can you be to stand up against your own people who questions the purity of your beloved? well I guess that is little bit too much to ask from our “Maaryada Purushattam” who is actually the poster boy of the early Indian patriarch society. At the same time it is interesting to note that after the first version of Ramayan was written, some people actually realized that this one incident alone can downgrade the image of Ram for the followers, so some of the secondary versions like Mahabharata (5th to 4th century BCE), the Vishnu Purana (1st century BCE–4th century CE), the Harivamsa (1–300 CE) and several other Puranas omit this epilogue altogether. While during the Rama Bhakti Movement in the 12th century the concept of Maya Sita came into existence to save Ram’s public image. And the known “history” was re-written in parts to make the Fire by Trial as the even where real Sita comes out of fire, where she was hiding since the abduction of Maya Sita, and attempts were made to give it a happy ending.
But now going back to the first version of Ramayana, Sita eventually went through the trial by fire, and disgusted with the actions of her husband and the society, went on a self imposed exile during her pregnant condition. And later possibly committed suicide, but it’s hard to decipher the allegory which tells that when Sita pleaded for her release from the unjust world, mother earth cracked open and took Sita with her.
So when I revisit this epic tale of the Maaryada Purushattam, the tale of his love for his wife, his bravery that caused the death of Ravana, the tale of “Good” winning over “Evil”, I don’t see any of the things I was told I would see. Rather, I see a man, who was made pawn to finely execute the conspiracy of Aryan High Council, a man who mentally weak, weaker than even a common man, who claimed to love his wife dearly, but cast her away when his followers started questioning her purity, ignoring the fact she was pregnant.
So when I see the deteriorating condition of woman safety in India, or how racist we are becoming with every passing day, but we are still busy protecting our cows and agitating over misdirected nationalism, I don’t get surprised anymore, because the warcry that echoed a few years back with the saffronization in India, was deep rooted in the concept of bringing back Ram Rajatwa (or Ruling of Ram). So, you see, when we talk about Ram, we talk about the symbol of patriarchy and a political pawn, and that just fits in with the present day condition. May be most of you still believe in the allegorical texts written and re-written many a times over the course of history, but for me Ram the supposed “Maaryada Purushattam” will ever be a god (small ‘g’ is intentional), he is even less than a true man. And history, my dear friend, is repeating itself, in different time, under different name.
Seek and you shall see.