Farcical Disclaimer: This blog contains content that might hurt your religious sentiments. So, if you one of those who get easily sentimentalized, you can stay away. Should you go ahead and read the article, you have three options in front of you - Compliment, Complaint or Compliant† :)
Lord Rama is widely considered to be Maryada Purushottama (The Perfect Man or Lord of Self Control or Lord of Virtue) by Hindus across the globe. He is a human being par excellence and his rule was famously known as Rama Rajya for being full of peace, happiness, prosperity and justice. And yet among the 330 million Gods in Hindu mythology it is with Lord Rama that I have an issue with. The story of Lord Rama is all hunky dory till He protects Sita Devi from the clutches of Ravanna and brings her back. It's the story after that, which makes me wonder if He deserves the Maryada Purshotamma tag that has been conferred upon Him. My grouse with Lord Rama is on three counts
- When He asks Sita Devi to undergo the Agni Pariksha
- When He banishes Sita Devi from Ayodhya on again doubting her chastity
- When He fails to recognize his own flesh and blood, Luva and Kusha and battles with them
In my book Lord Rama loses the Maryada Purushottama tag the moment He asked His wife to prove her chastity. The basic premise of calling Rama a Gentleman fell flat on its nose when He doubted his wife's fidelity. No right-minded gentleman would ever doubt his wife, least of all by listening to a loose tongue. Sure there’s any argument that He listened to the people of his kingdom and wanted to put them at ease. But at what cost? By hurting the sentiments of a woman who's devotion to her husband kept the evil advances of Ravanna at bay? And what kind of a King is Lord Rama who listens to the whispering voices of the mischief-mongering people rather than the thundering voice of His own conscience? If Rama Rajya was all about peace, prosperity and justice for the people, where was justice in asking Sita Devi to undergo Agni Pariksha?
It is this male chauvinist attitude that is still the root cause of all atrocities against women in this country. The women of this country have to constantly prove their loyalty and fidelity to their husbands who themselves can do as they wish with no questions asked. The modern day Ramas’ take refuge in the idea that, if Lord Rama can ask his wife to prove her chastity why not his subjects? Can’t help wonder if we are following the wrong Gods!
Banishment of Sita Devi
As if the Agni Pariksha wasn't insulting enough, comes the banishment of Sita Devi from the kingdom. And with this act His cloak of decency is all but shredded to bits. Suspecting your wife of carrying someone else's child and throwing her out of your house to let the pregnant wife fend for herself is the worst form of cruelty there is. And not surprisingly that attitude is still prevalent in Indian men thanks to God's Testimony over the matter. The women of this country have no chance. They are up against Gods and husbands!
Battle with Luv and Kush
The failure of Lord Rama in identifying His own flesh and blood is the pulling of the last straw. Now common, even a tacky 80's Bollywood movie star would have recognised his sons (lost in Kumbh Ka Mela) even after 25 years. The fact that Hanuman could recognize that Luv and Kush were the Lord’s sons and Rama missing out on the same fact defies all logic of parenthood and Godly sensibilities.
There could not have been a better ending to this story than Sita Devi submitting herself to Mother Earth leaving Rama to live a life of regret. As they say, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Disclaimer: Some of my understanding/knowledge/interpretation about the events may be wrong. I stand welcome to be corrected.
† Courtesy Srikanth Manjunath