A pertinent question that we are sure everyone of us has pondered upon, at some point or the other, is the importance, functionality and applicability of religion in our lives. The questions asked are similar, the answer, however, can be very different, which is understandable, as 7 billion people can mean 7 billion answers, where each is blessed with her/his own notion of religion and what it brings to their lives. Maybe that is how God wanted it to be – God us to find our own distinct ways to reach the Truth. Moving on, let’s take today’s auspicious occasion and discover what we can learn from a Katha taught by God, himself/herself.
Read this story in Hindi
Dussehra, as we all know, symbolises the victory of good on evil. God – the creator of this world – knew the world that he was creating, of course. God attributed this world with certain characteristics, some of which were challenges. The challenges were necessary for us, so that we grow. What a lull life would be with no challenges. However, the Creator did not want his beloved to overwhelmed by those challenges, the Creator did not want us to drown, hence, he created hope – which is symbolised by Dussehra. In essence, Dussehra is a reminder of hope.
Symbolism is, and has been, essential part of human life and history. This symbolism of victory of good upon evil is essential, and maybe the most important, message of Ramayana. The protagonist of Ramayana is Rama; he is the undisputed hero, but he is not the ordinary hero you see or envisage in daily life. The concept of Vira, or hero, in our culture is very different. As a popular Sanskrit couplet describes heroics of Rama, it attributes the following characteristics:
- Tyaagvira: famous for his sacrifice
- Dayaavira: famous for his compassion
- Vidyavira: famous for his wisdom
- Dharamvira: famous for his righteousness
- Parakaramvira: famous for his valour
Maybe, the Vira (hero) envisaged by the Creator was not the angry Hanuman sticker on the windshield of your car. It was a Rama – who was sacrificing, compassionate, wise, righteous, and, if and when need be, valorous. Therefore, the victory of good was the victory of sacrifice, compassion, wisdom, righteousness and valour over evil – anger, ego, spite, lies and greed.
In hindsight, the ‘idea of india’ as envisaged by our forefathers and as translated into the constitution of India seems to be created in the image of Rama, or a reflection of his. The ‘idea of India’ is rooted in ‘unity in diversity’, i.e. we will be united for the very reason that we are diverse. Why? It was envisaged by people who understood Rama as he was. They were shaped in the image of Rama, unlike some people from our generation, who are trying to shape Rama in their image. They want Rama, but they want a Rama who serves their purpose because the real Rama would annihilate their agenda. The ‘idea of India’ envisaged by our forefathers is sacrificing towards his sister/brother; the ‘idea of India’ is compassionate to the plight of the last person in the line; the ‘idea of India’ accepts wisdom and plans for the future instead of dwelling on the past; ‘idea of India’ is righteous, it speaks the truth even its voice shakes; and the ‘idea of India’ is valorous, it maintains its sanity in adversity.
Always remember, Ramayana is repeating itself not just in every era but in every year, every month and every day. Ramayana is unravelling in every state, every city, every family and every person. We all have a Rama and a Raavana inside of us. Even Raavana has Rama inside of him and as a famous lyric goes “Dekh Taj Ke Paap Raavan, Ram Tere Man Mein Hain” (Oh Ravan! if you abandon sin, you’ll find Rama within you). Similarly, there is a Ramayana unravelling in the Indian polity too. On one side is the divisive, parochial, egoistic and wicked, and on the other side is the ‘idea of India’, or Rama. People of India, today, Sita (India) is in the grip of Raavana (the one who should not be named), and Rama (the ‘idea of India’) is the only one standing in its way, just like how it was centuries ago. We must realise and recognise, and we must take a stand, as “there comes time when silence is betrayal”. The congress party made its choice, we have taken our decision, and that choice has stood for 132 years now. Now, we live by it, or we die with it. Therefore, come join us in our endeavour as we are ‘idea of India’ only when we are together. ‘Idea of India’ does not, can never, survive in isolation.
We, the Congress party, want to send our best wishes to the people of India and our party-workers on this auspicious occasion. More importantly, we want to remind our party-workers that when Raavana is defeated, Sita is rescued, and the world basks in the glory of Rama, do not dwell upon it for more than a moment. Where one Ramayana ends, another begins. We must regroup our forces for the next battle ahead, as this is how the Creator planned it for us. This world is nothing but Ramayana again, and again, and again. It is the aim for that utopian idea of Rama Rajaya which must keep us going. Maybe, it will never be achieved, but it is in the hope of that perfect Ram Rajaya that we work towards. Long live the ‘idea of India’!