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Mr Ten-Headed

india Updated: Oct 05, 2008 22:58 IST

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I can’t help but get depressed every year around this time.
Is it because you can’t bear to see the world being happy about festival discounts, especially in these days of a global economic slowdown?

Well, that a bit. But also because on Wednesday, that grand-hero Ravana of Ramayana fame will get bad press once again.
Ah, you mean the burning of Ravana’s effigy on Dussehra night? Why? You got a problem?

I seriously think that it sends out all the wrong signals. Look at the guy. He was a great scholar of the Vedas, played the veena like Jimmy Page, defended the honour of his sister Surpanakha when her nose was chopped off by Lakshman without doing anything rotten to Sita. And he becomes the repository of all evil. It’s not fair.
Ah, so you’re a contrarian when it comes to the good versus evil, Ram versus Ravana tug-of-war?

Hey, I’m not alone. Ravana in many places is considered the ultimate devotee of Lord Shiva . Both Shiva and Ravana are worshipped in a temple in Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. In Netaran in Madhya Pradesh, there’s an up and running
Ravana temple.
So what about Valmiki describing him as the Gabbar Singh of his times?

Let’s just say that he had a problem with Southern folks. Why don’t you read Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s The Epic of Meghnad’s Death?
You mean Ravana’s son? Another villain I thought.

Hmm. The phrase ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ really originates in the Ramayana. For a perfectly balanced view of things, why don’t you read Kamban’s Ramayana? There Ram remains an incarnation but Ravana is the ideal king who lost out in a political war.
I can see Oliver Stone or Michael Moore making a ‘Ravana’ movie now.

Don’t say: Do ten heads mean that Ravana had an eating problem?
Do say: This Dussehra, my heart goes out to the burning guy.