The real ravana leela

Like water, politicians too will eventually find their own level. For the likes of Karunanidhi who revel in creating mirages through their glib talk, it may take some time for us to discover their real self. But their actions and utterances prompted by their own brand of rational convictions are sure to betray their true identity and, when that happens, the optical illusions fade away and they are seen in their original colours.

Our CM has not bothered us with the trouble of tearing away his face mask for he knows that we know him only too well. He has done that himself. He has now acknowledged what has been common knowledge all along. He has said that he can identify with Ravana and any slander on that ‘Tamil’ king would be tantamount to a slander on himself!

 It is surely heartening to learn that after fifty arduous years of rationalising, the Thaanai thalaivan has acknowledged the existence of Ravana which by a process of similar rationalisation could be taken to mean the acceptance of Rama and Ramayana. The only point of debate is that Ravana, who is depicted as the villain in the epic, was indeed wronged(?) and Karunanidhi has as is his wont risen upto the defence of the ‘Tamil’ King against the ‘Aryan’ Rama.

It surely beats one why Karunanidhi has risked the identification with a man who stole another man’s wife but the rational mind knows better…about self and Ravana. Karunanidhi perhaps thinks that it is not a big crime or at worst a minor indiscretion which most men are guilty of, at least in their minds, which is also understandable.

For, Dravidian literature, especially that of our CM, is littered with several such instances of what is now popular as ‘maatran thottaththu malligaium manakkum’ and his pen’s penchant for the subtle justification of such unchaste acts through chaste Tamil is also no secret. Elopement and adultery have ever been essential ingredients of his pot boilers, though he has always been careful to ensure that those characters suffered in the climax. But not before they have had their fill, described in sleazy rhetoric that will mesmerise even the pious. The villains have always sounded more convincing than the moralistic heroes. Now we know why.

The essence of every epic, of whatever religion, is the triumph of good over evil. Even the Biblical Satan is a fallen angel, who had to be destroyed as he got overambitious. It is not that the villains of the epics were bereft of good qualities. Rather, some are known to have even better qualities than the gods themselves, which have been acknowledged in those very epics, much before the Karunanidhis started issuing conduct certificates.

It is only when the small spark of villainy, be it treachery, avarice or a desire for another man’s wife, gets possession of their mind and soul and becomes a raging fire, that they all become evil and warrant destruction by the good old god. The idea is that it is only the thoughts that guide or misguide men, and no one is born bad. And the destruction of evil men is only a symbolism for the destruction of evil itself, which is what these epic villains personify. Ravanas, Narakasuras, Satans are all men who nurtured evil thoughts which led to evil deeds and were therefore felled to tell the world that it is prudent to keep off such viles.

It is not that such wisdom is beyond the reach of the rational CM. It is just that by glorifying the inglorious, the CM is having his own sweet revenge on his perennial targets of ire-the ‘Aryan’ Hindu gods. The identification is also not without logic, come to think of it. Perhaps, like Ravana, our CM too has several faces: A rational face that shuns superstition, but an equal and opposite face that rests on a shoulder that sports an yellow shawl, another face that bleats about self-respect but a matching one on the other extreme that is ready to crawl and make overtures to declared ideological enemies who swear by Lord Rama, just to cling to power, yet another one that smiles at allies while its counterpart is scheming all the time on how to ditch them, and so on. Or it may even be possible that the CM’s eye to eye compatibility with Ravana is dictated by his own nightmarish encounters with another Ramachandran in the past.

All said, it is one thing to sympathise with Ravana for he was afterall a good, godfearing man who fell into bad ways owing to his inability to resist the charms of Sita besides being drunk to the brim on his own prowess and infallibility. But to identify with him only betrays a demented mind that seems to always have a permanent place of pride for such unruly elements.

Little wonder that whenever the current CM ascends the throne, such similar identifications also come to the fore- the LTTE runs amok, Al-Umma bombs at will and Veerappans remain at large. Perhaps, Ravana Rajya warrants all these.

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Jawahar T R