Dusshera, this particular festival ignites many memories; the old fables, the instituted story of how good wins over evil almost every time, the food, the plays; everything about this festival remains nostalgic with many millennials, even today. I still obsess over the proceedings of the Ramayana in the nearby mela, often pestering my family to take a trip down there, hogging around their throats for the acquisition of VIP passes.
The glory isn’t lost on many. However, with current events happening around the world, my brain is yearning for a different perspective this season.
We ferociously and quite gloriously celebrate the burning of Raavan, the evil but ever-so-smart man, who kidnapped Sita against her consent and invited the wrath of Lord Ram over it. The occurrence of this story happened centuries ago, yet this time I am wondering, have we actually evolved?
Apart from the changes in the functioning of a society or the ruling of it to the conversion of metal coins into paper notes, from the horse-ridden carriages to now technologically-backed vehicles; has anything changed in the mindset? Aren’t we still carrying the roots of this story which is embedded in our mind, not allowing us to evolve as a being?
Once upon a time, there was a happy household till the time it wasn’t covered by clouds of jealousy and manipulation. In the household of Lord Ram, jealousy of a mother who wanted kingship for her own son led to such a manipulative demand which made Lord Ram to leave Ayodhya and be banished for good 4 years. Aren’t we battling the same thundering clouds in our home or our society?
Don’t we get impacted by the manipulation and gossips of an aunty who think that wearing shorts is a disgrace, or maybe a guy pursuing art is a sin? In the bid of wanting the best for their children, aren’t many parents still imposing or pushing their kids in a direction they want for their own benefit?
Secondly, are we devoid of any Raavans, who still think that any woman is their property and can be held without her consent? Yes, the ways have changed but many authenticate their rights over women by raping, groping or harassing them. After all, what is consent when it comes to girls?
Lord Ram is considered an epitome of a man for his respect towards laws and how he treated everyone equally. He was also a part of a stringent society comprised of many castes and prejudices, yet he ate food with a tribal woman who was an untouchable, and created new benchmarks for any person to reach. He protested against such a bifurcation, yet many even now openly indulge in it. Such caste-bred or religion-inspired hatred has always been present, and despite many technological-advancements, we are still stuck in the past.
Are we burning Raavan, but slowly forgetting the man we have come to pray?
Next we have the most-debated part wherein Lord Ram banished his own wife because of accusations hurled towards his wife in the society. She was character-assassinated majorly, and somehow our Lord Ram stumbled to the pressures of the society and gave in to their demands. Does it not resonate with our modern day scenario? Do we not find it easy to assassinate a woman’s character over her habits? Do we not judge a homosexual for their different sexual-orientation; aren’t we banishing them by law in our current period?
Have we actually evolved, or are we still carrying the ghosts of our pasts in our minds?
Maybe Ramayana is not about the triumph of good over evil, maybe it is all about how evil seeps into us, how it acts as a parasite sucking the good out of us. Raavan was the one who paid the price, maybe he was the one who personified evil and bought it out for everyone to see, while we keep it hidden within our four walls or hide it under the name of manners, societal norms or laws.
Maybe good never won, but is struggling and gasping for that light we are shunning because of our dark thoughts and mind.