He was resplendent, learned, loved and revered as a King and as a mighty warrior. Then he made one mistake, he coveted another man’s wife and abducted her. The husband was rightfully offended and came with a huge army and defeated this resplendent being and was hailed as a righteous warrior who had ensured that Good triumphs over Evil. You get the drift – am talking of Ramayana and Ram and Raavan.
I read Ramayana in Amar Chitra Katha comics and was told the many sub-stories by aunts, grandparents etc – right from the beginning, I remember I found Ram boring and less colourful than Raavan. I didn’t have the words to describe Raavan – and struggled to go against the popular opinion then. Raavan is more layered, textured and multidimensional, so, far more interesting and he was righteous … All explanations of why Ram had to kill Vaali the way he did don’t work, that was non-God like behaviour. Raavan went astray in that one instance when he abducted Sita – in a world where it was considered inappropriate and went against societal norms. One mistake, that’s all and he paid with his life for it.
Interestingly enough – this year the day we were celebrating Dussehra and burning Raavan’s effigies, Rajat Gupta was sentenced to two years in jail. And his life parallels Raavan’s so much, it’s uncanny ! I can’t think of another corporate honcho who would have Bill Gates and Kofi Annan speak on his behalf and even intercede for him. Rajat Gupta was and will remain a great man – with one mistake.
Is it the curse of greatness that all great folk make one stupid mistake ? And how unfair it is that we burn their effigies and call them evil so quickly while continuing to heap praise on people like Vibhisena and the Ambanis – who have never displayed the right values. Vibhisena truly killed his own brother ! And let me not start on the unparalleled Ambani brothers 🙁
Such are the ways of the world……
For all his greatness what does Ram do? Exile off the very same Sita because some “subject” doubted her chastity. In a better world, Ram should have walked through fire for having doubted Sita !