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The banyan tree

Friday, October 28, 2011

Where is academic freedom?

What happened in JNU (Jawahar Lal Nehru University), i think it is not an isolated case of JNU, infact that is our peoples' attitude towards culture and religion. Casteism on gods, now thats real blasphemy (according to Bagavat Gita, caste is only for humans, based on their 'Karma'). Now, if you ask me where do i stand? i would say, i don't care. According to me, anything a human wrote is always human, b'coz he can't describe anything that is out of his mental dimension and brain capacity. i.e he can't possibly depict 'god', given the fact that god is everything above human perception.

Oh yes, i am sorry, i just slipped out of the matter. In JNU, B.A History (honours) had an essay, about world's first epic 'Ramayana', by A. K. Ramanujan called "The Three Hundred Ramayanas". University banished the essay, subjugating to the political pressure and those religious and cultural freaks who don't know anything about culture. They argue that essay disgraces Ramayana and gods. They are saying he is selling his own version on Ramayana with contorted views. They don't know one thing that why "Ramayana" had wider acceptance among people of entire Asia than "Mahabharata". It is its beauty in character creation,    he interwoven human emotions and morality together with great skill. Valmiki's "Ram" and "Ravan" were both fantastic characters. If you took a deep examination you would notice the similarities between them both of them were good rulers and fighters, both of them were scholars and both of them have high ethics (some would disagree with me about Ravan, but i will show you). Now everyone contempt Ravan for abducting Sita, yes it was a bad mark on his character, but it shows he want revenge and all the more human. Every one remember "Shoorpanaka" ugly sister of Ravan as our T.V serials depict her. Actually she was beautiful and her pride made her want Ram, who is also handsome, but when she saw Sita, who is the most beautiful in the story, her pride got hurt and without thinking twice she attacked her. Till now every one knows but what happened next is an atrocity towards womanhood, but everyone deliberately forgot it. Lakshman (brother of Ram) cuts off her nose and her breasts. Literally she had been made ugly by him and symbolically speaking she had been raped. To conceal the horror of this event when Ramayan were remade as bhakti work (adaptations by bhakti poets) she had been depicted as ugly from the beginning. Now you can't blame a man who wants revenge for doing such an atrocity to his sister (only). Ravana could have forced Sita to marry him but he didn't, he wanted her to be his wife willingly that's why he stages the death of Ram. But of course she was too strong a character than both of them that's why she refused Ravan and committed suicide when her dearest Ram questioned her chastity. The point being when you approach the story as gods and goddesses you will find many contradictions but if you are willing to accept it how it really was, there is no confusion. You will see clearly, human emotions, ethics, principles all come to play. It's all about humans.

Essay widens our view about Ramayana and its public acceptance through out Asia. He talks about different adaptations of Valmiki's "Ramayana" in different regions of world. In one tamil version (by "Kambar") of Ramayana (not exact adaptation, he created his own version) Sita is Ravan's daughter. In most of the adaptations "Rama" is god incarnated, but in original by Valmiki, Rama was a good king, good son and a good husband (some would argue against). During the period of "bhakti movement" and "Bhramanic" influence in literature further adaptations of Ramayana  were transferred into "bhakti literature" work. Valmiki portraits Rama as an incarnation of all that is good in this world, he  is a text book about duties and responsibilities one should follow. Sage Valmiki made a portrait of an ultimate human, "Rama" in a large canvas called "Ramayana". He knew very well that if he made him a god, he would be like unattainable by common man. But we simple minded humans we never got the idea. We made Rama and even Valmiki, incarnation of god. 

Most of the people today have a misunderstanding of sages and Rishis, they think Rishis are religious fellows we see today talking about god and his "leelas". But in truth Indian "Rishis" were scholars and philosophers. They argued and wrote about everything under the sun. That's the reason why when the whole world was learning to read and write we had universities  (Nalanda & Takshashila). They were the contemporaries or forerunners of Greek scholars. That is the reason why when "Alexander the great" came to India he treated them with utmost reverence, now that's culture.