If every story has many facets, multiple perspectives, so why leave the epic Ramayana out of it? Yesterday afternoon, Nagpur witnessed its first mahapuja in obeisance of Ravan. This puja called Mahagongo, was organized as a part of the Aadiwasi Sanskrutik Sanwardhan Parishad at Untkhana Ground, Medical Square. Speakers who were a part of the event claimed that Ravan was, in fact, a disciplined and able leader who kidnapped Sita only to avenge the humiliation that Ram and Laxman caused Shurpanakha, Ravan's sister.
Talking about this unique tradition, Dashrath Madavi, the president of Birsa Kranti Dal, who co-organized the event, said, “The history of Adivasis has been distorted, and Ravan has been depicted as an immoral deity. However, we follow the original Valmiki Ramayan, which says that Ravan was a religious philosopher, an able military leader and a successful administrator who nurtured Lanka into an admirable city.”
Madavi added that it is a misconception that Ravan lusted after Sita because while in Ashok Vatika, he never mistreated her. “When the two brothers humiliated Shurpanakha by cutting her nose, will her brother not retaliate? Ravan kept Sita in Ashok Vatika and deployed all female workers of his court at her service. But the epics have only shown him to be vicious," he said.
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Almost 45 Bhumaka, or devoted pandits, participated in the hour long puja rituals and a large number of devotees had also come to be a part of the Mahagongo ritual. The puja was followed by speeches, where the guests talked about how it is wrong to burn the effigies of Ravan every year. “Ravan is our king and our God. How can people burn his effigies on Dusshera? While we shouldn't hurt religious sentiments of others, we should raise voice when our sentiments are hurt. If we don't fight for our tradition, the next generation will live in confusion," said the ex-MLA of Kinwat Bhimrao Keram.
The speakers also talked about how the modern epics always talk about their king in a negative light. “There is no written rule that Ravana must be burned on Dussehra, and we will be organizing a puja for Ravana on that day. People from the districts will also worship him on Dusshera," Madavi said.
The Parishad was also held in Wardha yesterday evening.
Information source: TOI
Cover image source: istadevata