Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ram, a great king but a bad husband?

Recently senior supreme court lawyer and former law minster of India Mr. Ram Jethmalani was in news (off course not for the first time) for his comment about Ram (not about himself because his name is also Ram, but lord Ram, a central character from great epic Ramayan), he called him a bad husband for not standing by his wife when she needed his support most after someone from his kingdom questioned her character. I am sure many political parties, religious organization will come against this statement and Jethmalani will receive lot of criticism from all quarters of society. I wrote one post related with Sita and her significance for women of today's world few months back on my blog. I personally think that Ram failed as a husband to protect her wife on two occasions, on first occasion it was not entirely his fault but on second occasion (when some one questioned her chastity) he could have protected his wife who already suffered enough trauma in captivity of Ravan and already proved her innocence (by giving agnee pariksha) but he choose to remain neutral, a silent spectator and tried to make his people happy rather than delivering justice.

This issue is subject of many debates and discussions for many years and many people have expressed their opinion about this issue, some favor Ram and call him great king who put interest of people of his kingdom before his personal happiness, some criticize him for failing to protect his wife just because few males raised objection about her chastity and character. According to the epic, Sita was abducted forcibly, many blame her for crossing the Lakshman rekha (line drawn by Lakshman to protect her), she crossed the Lakshman rekha willingly but she was tricked to do so, she stayed in captivity of Ravan almost for a year, resisted all his advances towards her and protected herself from him. But that was not enough to prove her innocence, just because she was a women and people couldn't believe that a single women can protect herself against a mighty king? They thought, Ravan must have polluted her (??). Some people in Ayodhya (Ram's kingdom) were not convinced about her chastity, they refused to believe that she was chaste or pure anymore after staying for a year in captivity of another man away from her husband, so I am pretty sure what they mean by this is that she was raped or willingly had sex with Ravan. So, it was not a question of Sita's moral character but it was matter of her sexual behavior, and what does people of kingdom have to do about any women's sexual behavior. Does this mean if a wife gets raped she is not pure or deserve to be a wife anymore? If this is the case then these pople don't even deserve to be heard. Having more than one wives (Ram's father Dashrath had three wives) was not considered as bad in Ramayan, men were allowed to have multiple sexual partners at the same time but women were not (even rape was considered as her fault), and there was just an element of doubt in Sita's case not any proof. Ram is considered as 'maryada purushottam' (I think by this they mean a person honoring all rules) so how did he fail to honor his duties as a husband? Why did he rescue Sita if wanted to abandon her after bringing back to Ayodhya? If he could leave the kingdom to honor a promise which his father gave to one of his three wives  (which was clearly not a wise decision) then why he didn't leave the same kingdom to protect his wife and her honor?

One can ask many questions like this and debate this issue endlessly, for me this was a clear case of using double standards for men and women, no one objected Ram's character because he also stayed away from his wife for almost a year and was a royal guest of few kings (like Sugreev), he must have met many beautiful women during that one year, but no one even thought about asking him any question or told him to prove his chastity, any one wonders why? Just because he was a man? Why this dual standard, just because Sita was a woman?

I am not interested here to decide whether Ram was a better king or a bad husband but I see one thing clearly that he failed to protect and support his wife when she needed his support most, he just abandoned her and never bothered to check what happened to her afterwards, he didn't even cared to check if she was alive or not, that says a lot about his attitude towards his own beloved wife and Ramayan doesn't give any proper explanations for his behavior. Ram is considered as a God and worshiped in many temples across India, that is why any comment against him or questioning any of his actions generates lot of controversy and uproar from conservative section of Hindu population, I read that someone has announced reward of five lakhs (approx. 10,000 USD) for anyone who spits on Jethmalani's face, these people didn't bother to explain their point of view but want to punish Jethmalani for expressing his views. This is strange but true face of  organized religion where disagreement is not tolerated rather it's punished using harshest way possible so next person thinks twice before questioning anything. Hinduism, once which was a very liberal lifestyle is becoming dictatorial just to survive in presence of many other organized religions who have similar style, I feel bad but this system has been damaged beyond any repairs and people who follow this are not helping it to repair either, but there is an element of hope, questions like this, posts like this keep the fire of disagreement burning and one day people might realize that all humans deserve to be treated with equal respect and honor regardless of their beliefs, race and gender, till then keep discussing and have patience.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

References:

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing) 

17 comments:

  1. Sunil Gangopadhyay. “Polygamy was the norm then. Ram’s father Dasarath had 350 wives, none of whom were able to conceive naturally. Sita too failed to conceive when she was living with Ram. She did, much later, after her return from Lanka. Perhaps Ram realised he couldn’t possibly be the father of her children and exiled her: not so much on public demand, but for personal reasons,”

    May be this theory explains Ram's behavior towards Sita..

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  2. the intention behind this post is not to paint good or bad person, I think I made this clear in my post but somehow when I posted this on Spekingtree blog there was intense discussion and debate,

    http://timesofindia.speakingtree.in/public/spiritual-blogs/seekers/god-and-i/ram-a-great-king-but-a-bad-husband

    I used the term 'bad' only to show the contrast between his behavior as a son, a warrior, a king and a husband..the intention is to show the attitude of society towards women, this incident from Ramayan was just an example. There are many versions of Ramayan and what we read is the most popular version, so please keep this in mind while reading the post..this is not Ram or Ramayan bashing but trying to learn some lessons from incidents of this story.

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  3. You say “the intention behind this post is not to paint good or bad person,”
    Yet you post false made up stuff about Raam in your comments above posted by someone and you agreed with it. If this is not hypocracy then I don’t know what is.

    You don’t have any knowledge of anykind and yet are judging others.

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    1. I agreed?? I just said may be...OK may be also means there may be other explanation also, I found it interesting and that's why shared it..I really find strange how people assume so many things about others..I am very clear about my intentions and I write that in every post..

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    2. and I didnt post anything false that particular comment was by Sunil Gangopadhyay, if you don't know about him and his work then read about him and confirm that he said these lines, it's not my own views I reproduced them here...so check it your self and then accuse me for posting something false...:)

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  4. By believing this persons option you did not bother check that the books clearly state Raam and Sita loved each other even when they were separated.
    You are quickly ready to believe a stupid option which some idiot has decided to make up for his pleasure.
    Perhaps he expected people to give him a medal for his false outbursts. He has not read the Ramayana. If he has --then he has chosen to ignore what the books wrote and decided to make up his own story. Just like you do.

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    1. again read carefully...I said 'MAY BE' I think you understand what it means..and I am no one to call Sunil Gangopadhyay stupid or intelligent..that's not my job or that's not what I do..he was very well respected author from India and you can read his books to know what he said this and on what basis he derived his conclusion, I found this theory interesting and that's why I shared it. You be happy with those books and what is written them..I and others are free to derive our conclusion from them and comment about it..if you don't like this then it's your problem.. and I didn't make my own story...please read the things carefully..story is same it's just a comment on one incident in story...I hope you will take effort to fully understand what is written before going on with some baseless allegations..thanks.

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  5. 'MAY BE' suggests you haven’t read the books and are ready to believe some nonsense. If you didn’t believe then you would have stayed silent or disagreed with this mans comment. But you clearly commented 'MAY BE'.



    “he derived his conclusion, I found this theory interesting”
    Its always very strange that you are ready to believe writes who says false things against Hindu religion but are never to ready to believe the very facts in the story themselves. Why are you ready to believe people who make up things instead of facts from holy books?


    “.I and others are free to derive our conclusion from them and comment about it..if you don't like this then it's your problem..”

    This is not a case of problem. When a person lies then its lie. You adamantly teach your children that theft is theft but in the case where these people lie—you seemingly agree and call it my problem.




    “and I didn't make my own story..”
    Im afraid you do but you just don’t agree with yourself. Read your posts again.





    “I hope you will take effort to fully understand what is written before going on with some baseless allegations.”

    I don’t make allegations. My comments are based on facts from the words you have written in your own blog.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your comments, but again you are doing the same mistake and repeating the same things without understanding what I wrote, let me do this again...'MAY BE' suggests that I have read more than one books on this subject with diverse opinion in them and I personally think that there can be more than one correct opinion (or more than one angles) about this issue...OK..I think now it should be very clear what I mean by 'may be'.

      [If you didn’t believe then you would have stayed silent or disagreed with this mans comment. But you clearly commented 'MAY BE'.]

      I neither I disagree nor I agree with his opinion, but I found it interesting and a possible explanation for Ram's behavior towards Sita. Even if I don't agree with someone's opinion but if I feel it's interesting I believe it's worth sharing, may be you don't but I like to show as many angles as possible of any particular issue.

      [Its always very strange that you are ready to believe writes who says false things against Hindu religion but are never to ready to believe the very facts in the story themselves. Why are you ready to believe people who make up things instead of facts from holy books?]

      First of all his opinion or comment is not about Hindu religion, read it again and again until you get this, he commented about one incident from one story whose character is one of many Gods worshiped by people following Hindu religion, I guess not you will understand. This is not at all about any religion so get over this misunderstanding.

      There is no way to confirm whatever he (or many others about this issue) said/wrote is true or false, even these stories are authors interpretation about those incidents (if they happened in a way mentioned in the book). Based on the incident in the story which is from the same holy book I wrote my comment, I didn't change any incident, this blog is my opinion about Ram's behavior in this particular case. And Mr. Sunil Gangopadhyay also didn't make up anything he just offered his explanation.

      [When a person lies then its lie.]

      OK, then prove that it's a lie, just don't say it's a lie without any proof.

      [You adamantly teach your children that theft is theft but in the case where these people lie—you seemingly agree and call it my problem.]

      Yes, I like to present all angles associated with any particular issue (the one which I agree as well as which I don't) to my kids or friends and then it's up to them to choose which one they think is correct, my job is only to present my view not to force it. If it is a lie they will find it out any way.

      [Im afraid you do but you just don’t agree with yourself. Read your posts again.]

      Show the proof, where I made my own story, just don't say whatever come's to your mind, story and it's incidents are same, this is just my take on one of the incidents in the story...again understand the post.

      [I don’t make allegations. My comments are based on facts from the words you have written in your own blog.]

      Any proof about the facts which you are talking about will be greatly appreciated, I expect some concrete evidence from next comment about the things you are writing in your comments again and again. It will make my job easy to clarify them rather than repeating same things again and again.

      Thanks again.

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  6. My final reply

    [[First of all his opinion or comment is not about Hindu religion,]]
    Lord Rama and Krishna and many others represents the Hindu religion. You attack one and you attack the religion.
    It seems this is where you haven’t understood at all.
    .

    Mr. Sunil Gangopadhyay and you are very clearly making things up as you go along. You cant hide that fact or explain it away.



    [[OK, then prove that it's a lie, just don't say it's a lie without any proof.]]
    'MAY BE'.
    'MAY BE'.
    'MAY BE'.
    'MAY BE'.
    'MAY BE'.
    When you make things up then its lie. What more proof do you want then the one staring at you in the face.


    In the story of the three little pigs, if a write said the house was blown by a hurricane and you say 'MAY BE that true’ –then you agree with a story that someone has made up. The reality is the wolf blew the house down.
    There is no room for 'MAY BE'.



    [[Show the proof, where I made my own story,]]
    Read the blog on Yash and Krishna and your replies. They are proof enough.
    Other blogs and my discussion.
    Its all there in b/w.
    I don’t have time to convince you to something you DON’T WANT TO SEE.




    [[Any proof about the facts which you are talking about will be greatly appreciated, I expect some concrete evidence from next comment]]]
    Look Ive been giving you great and good and simple examples about many aspects in our discussions which you so easily dismiss.
    Now you want proof so you can have the pleasure of dismissing it again.
    I don’t have time for you if you are blatantly opposed to and refuse to accept as correct.
    You just cant bring yourself to say I am right.
    You keep talking nonsense in a round about way.
    You are inspired by writers who don’t know what they are saying and you defend them by saying “That’s their right to express” “May be they are right” and blha blah.

    You obviously don’t understand a word I have tried to explain and seek concrete evidence. Borrowing a quote -- For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for you to understand anything.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your kind words and encouragement...comments like this keep me motivated to do my work and continue writing, thanks a lot.

      Once again there is nothing new in your comment same 'I am right' 'you are wrong' bragging without any proof. I didn't expect you to come up with something other than this.

      [You attack one and you attack the religion.]
      hehe..interesting theory..attack?? funny if you show some discrepancy or objectionable thing..you attack religion...hehehe..good, keep it up..not I know how you can dismiss all writers so timidly except few which you agree...:)

      No proof just bragging..thanks...it seems you understood every word of mine..but I didn't...so sad..again escapist route...nothing new, everything as expected, same allegations, same 'you didn't understood a thing' please offer something new next time..and may be one day you (and many people like you) will have the courage, desire and capacity to look into these books in a way they are supposed to be and learn few lessons from them..those authors will be happy...good luck.

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    2. and read the post or comments again no one changed the story...may be you don't know the difference between analysis of a story and actual story...review of a movie is not a script of a movie...review is a person's take on that movie he/she is... it's a opinion, not rewriting or changing the story...I hope this clears some confusion which you have about changing the story and making the stuff..and I am still waiting for evidence...

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  7. Ramayan is not a legal document nor a technical manual. It's rather a poetry. Every character is metaphor for something deep within ourselves. Ram is spirit(atma). Sita(chitta) is the refined aspect of our mind. Ravan is ego. Our mind is stolen by ego. Our spirit with the help of Laxman(discrimination) and Hanuman(breath) defeats ego and reunites again with our mind...only to later loose it again to even the tiniest doubt posed by a garrulous dhobi (Shuka, parrot of last life)

    What Ramayan is truely unfolding is drama and challenges uniting mind and spirit. The rest of the soap opera is only means to that end. To me, in that context the question posed by Ram Jetmalani is really trivial nitpicking.

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    1. Welcome to my blog and thanks a lot for your comment..I was waiting for some comment like this...I totally agree with you...

      Ramayan is poetry but people take it as a prose or a history...and as you said the comment by Mr. Jethmalani or even my post doesn't matter as far as Ram or Ramayan is concerned...I took on this subject for it's relevance in today's world...in today's world rather than interpreting Ramayan or any scripture the way you did in your comment people take it as a historical document and then expect to apply same logic (which is again not the correct one)...all men expect only women should be pious, they should prove their honesty or chastity (as Sita did)..and that's why I took on this subject...

      You explained it very nicely. Thanks for your comment again. Feel free to comment on other posts as you find time.

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  8. I like the topics on your blog, will continue to read and comment from time to time

    ...all men expect only women should be pious, they should prove their honesty or chastity (as Sita did)..and that's why I took on this subject...

    >> Men and women, both have Ram(spirit) and Sita(mind&body)in them. Spirit is always untainted, it is the mind-body complex that need to find right company. Hence discipline of yoga is essentially for mind-body complex. And in that sense, both men and women have to go thru agni-pariksha.

    Now one could argue why spirit is male? In some scriptures (Durga sutras) spirit is female. These are choices made by the poets to unfold those particular scriptures. It is like asking makers of matrix movies why male character "Neo" is the savior, why not Trinity, why not female savior? Why she should die in the end and not Neo?

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    1. true...message which story want's to deliver is important, other technical details doesn't matter, one should learn to look at the essence of the story rather than characters and technicality...thanks again..

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  9. I don't understand why Ram was blamed for everything. While I agree Sita suffered a lot, it does not mean Ram never suffered at all. Everything was pre planned by fate.People only look at the fact that Ram sent Sita out of the kingdom during her pregnancy. They don't realise that there were many curses on Lord Vishnu that he will be separated from his wife when he takes birth on earth as human. So obviously Ram and Sita's fate was pre destined from before. Ram was never entirely at fault. It was not his hands when he was cursed. So you cannot blame Ram for being a bad husband.

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