Ravana abducted Ram’s wife, a crime for which he was killed by Ram himself. So says the Ramayana. The epic makes Ravana the archetypical villain. And since Ram is God for most Hindus, Ravan’s actions make him the Devil incarnate. This justifies the annual burning of his effigy on the Gangetic plains during the festival of Dassera.
“Corruption is all around us, omnipresent, almost like a distorted, antithetical version of God for the New Millennium.”
With Dassera around the corner, there’s a lot happening in the air. The painters are infusing life into the raw monsters, painting mustaches, giving jumbo like styles to the effigies, which keep emerging in the forms of Ravana, Kumbkarna and Meghnath. The artisans are working with perfection and speed to create Ravans of different-different “sizes” so that people could buy them and burn these effigies on the day of Dusshera or in other terms they kill the evil inside them on this day and mark the twitch of purity and goodness in them. But is the evil really dead?
In December 2012, the horrifying gang-rape of a young physiotherapy student in a private bus in Delhi sparked outrage across India. The innocuous-seeming circumstances in which the rape occurred, the blood-curdling brutality of the perpetrators and the anger in public, all added fuel to the fire which led to a nation-wide protest and questioned the fact that, “When will the modern-day Ravana vanish from our society?”
In the today’s world, when we see different sizes of Ravans sold on the streets in our society one can relate it to the reality of the modern world where even a 12-year-old rapes someone or a woman is harassed by a 50-year-old. It is metaphorical that “ravan” as a symbol of “evil” can be found in people of any age.
When I see people killing people for power, money or lust; it is difficult for me to accept the fact that our modern society is still on the path of “ravana’s era” and it is enormously ironical of them to celebrate Dassera.
In India, corruption is something we all learn to live with. Most people are nauseated by the epidemic proportions corruption has acquired in the country. It is literally under every stone you turn. It is also in every passage you go into, every corner and crack you might care to peek into. It happens as much in broad hours of daylight as it does behind shut doors. It is as much a part of a common man’s life as it is of those with power. But still they do celebrate Dassera and mentions the fact that we have achieved victory from the “evil”.
So as I walked by the street and thought what could be done to eliminate the corruption, the wrongful lust in the society? What could be done to eliminate “the evil” right from the childhood, so that when we “buy” a Ravana of any “size” and burn it on the day of “Ravana Dahan”; we have actually destroyed the evil inside us!
Who should do it? The answer is “us”. It is time for us to work towards swiping this devil from its roots.
And how can we do it? The answer is education. “Moral” Education is the key that will unlock all the doors and has the power to end corruption.
Right from childhood, kids must be brought up by imparting them with high moral values by the parents, teachers and everyone around them. They should not be exposed to even the smallest form of corruption, like bribing a person to avoid standing in a queue or showing favoritism among the students in the classroom.
Hence let’s clench the weapon of moral education right away and eradicate the Ravan of corruption and wrongful covetousness within and around us before the Ravan kills us all and dictates the world.