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Rama or Ravana – The Real Hero?

This picture says so much about perspectives. A few days ago I wrote about Mahabharata as seen by Draupadi; a woman’s perspective to the epic war. It didn’t change the key incidents but it definitely changed the way I perceived the epic.

The Garuda Raksha mask comes from Sri Lanka and relates to another great Indian epic – the Ramayana. The Ramayana as we know it is the story of the good King Rama defeating the bad King Ravana. But thats our side of the story. Sri Lankan’s accept the defeat but don’t see Ravana in the same light as evil. Here’s some things to mull over –

Ravana was a great king. His reign was the golden age in Sri Lanka. Even the Ramayan says the city of Lanka was made of gold.
He was an accomplished Veena player. He had won over the Gods and been granted many boons.
The people of Lanka loved Ravana and stood by him during the war. He was considered a righteous king.
Ravana may have abducted Sita (Rama’s wife) but he never touched her. He could have forced himself on her but didn’t.

So do we tell stories to prove ourselves right? Is it our way of justifying what we did and why we did it? Is history told by winners the real story?

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