Lord Rama’s birthday should be celebrated a few months before Ramanavami, if an article in Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh mouthpiece Organiser is to be believed.
In the article, the writer, retired bureaucrat Pushkar Bhatnagar, says Rama was born on January 10, 5114 B.C.
Using a software called Planetarium, Bhatnagar fed planetary positions mentioned in Valmiki’s Ramayana to arrive at the date. “This software is used to predict eclipses as well as distances of other planets from earth,” he says in the article.
The argument, however, runs at variance with the conventions of history writing. Historians affix dates to ancient history by associating archaeological discoveries with texts.
For instance, a kind of pottery called painted grey-ware is associated with Vedic texts. Its origins can be traced with carbon dating. This period is placed between 1100 B.C. and 500 B.C.
In Ancient India, historian Romila Thapar places the Mahabharat war in 900 B.C., and the Ramayana later. The logic: the Aryans moved eastward with time, and Ayodhya is east of sites associated with the Mahabharat such as Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district.
But scholars such as HP Ray of the Jawaharlal Nehru University say the domains of archaeology and text can’t be compared.