"History is written by victors"
goes a saying. And this applies to every bit of history as well as mythology we read today ..be it the religious crusades,various independence struggles and mythical wars. The other day I was wondering how the story of Ramayana would have been rendered today IF Ravana had won the war.Not being blasphemous or anything,but imagination is a rather wild child...so I let it run..and here is a story we would have been telling our grandkids if Ravana had indeed won the war :)
Once upon a time,long long ago..in the treta yuga lived the noble,just and benevolent king Ravana of Lanka.A devout follower of Lord Shiva,he possessed immense knowledge of vedas and upanishads and was the author of Ravana Samhita - an astrological scripture narrated by lord shiva. Ravanayan is the story about his war with bad people and his ultimate victory.
Ram and Lakshman, the princes of ayodhya were admonished and sent to exile in forest for their misdeeds by their father King Dasaratha.Ram's wife Sita,a pretty,coy lady feared the repercurssions of living alone in ayodhya and decided to be with her husband during the exile,she believed the wild forest to be safer than living as a single woman in a repressive society with three royal mother-in-laws.
One day during their exile in forest,Minakshi,the beautiful and much adored sister of King Ravana saw Ram. She was bewitched by his handsome looks and fell for him. Minakshi went upto Ram and expressed her feelings of desire for him. Ram and Laskhaman were shocked at the courage of this woman,back home in ayodhya no woman would have had the guts to propose a man.They would remain in their goongats and would have had only fleeting glances at their bridegrooms before wedding. Without hiding his disgust Lakshman retorted to Minakshi "O you filthy woman,how dare you speak like this.Women should not behave so.See our Sita here,she is a role model of how a woman should be.You are a demon".
Minakshi replied back "O you misogynist,which law of your land forbids women to express their feelings.If a man had done this you would have termed him as a courageous romantic and if a woman does it,she is a demon?.Being a sita,who does not speak against the men in her household however unjust they are is not how a woman should be". For the first time in their lives the princes of ayodhya heard a woman speak up against a man. An aghast Lakshman drew his sword and sliced the nose of the unarmed Minakshi.
The news of this demeaning act of attacking an unarmed person,that too a woman, travelled far and wide. The learned sages and the wise rishis wondered how a warrior prince right under the nose of a future king could do this. They were stunned by the ruthlessness and irrational behavior. When the mighty Ravana came to know what had befallen his loving sister,he was enraged and vengeance filled his heart. He rushed in his pushpaka vimana to the place where these two chauvinistic princes were living. To his utter dismay he could not find them in their hut,but he found sita. Though hesitant Ravana knew that to know the value of a woman,the princes of ayodhya should lose a woman they loved and respected. Ravana imprisoned sita and took her with him to Lanka.
Ram and Lakshman found that Sita had been abducted.How will they face the world now? how can they ever go back to ayodhya without her? the world will chastise their ability and manhood for not being able to safeguard a woman. Their masculine egos would be thrashed and their legacy relegated to oblivion. The princes decided to find out sita,they started their travel towards south.
Meanwhile in Lanka,Sita was put in a ladies community centre.There she was mocked and ridiculed by the lankan women. They could not imagine someone so coy and so dependent,and without any ability to rebel or speakup against men. Her misery was compounded when she came to know about the beautiful and intellectual Mandodari, Ravana's wife. People compared Sita's beauty to Mandodari but when they stuck a conversation with her,they scorned her intelligence or rather the lack of it.
On the other side luck favored Ram and Lakshman,they befriended Sugriva,the leader of a dark,strong and muscular race of beings from the south. Sugriva's story,of being exiled for betraying his brother,stuck a chord with Ram and Lakshman. Ram decides to help sugriva defeat his brother and in return use sugriva's army to find sita. As decided Ram killed from hiding Sugriva's brother Vali during their duel. This heinous act of killing another warrior from hiding sent shockwaves across the divine world.There were arguments and debates to discuss which one of the brothers' act was more vile,whether it was lakshman's act of hurting an unarmed woman or ram's.
With the help of Sugriva's army and his commander-in-chief Hanuman,ram was able to find that Sita was imprisoned in the island of lanka. He decided to build a bridge to cross over to Lanka. Ignoring the pleas of the sea god about the effect of a man made bridge on the ecology of the ocean and detrimental effects to sea life Ram decided to go ahead. Sugriva's strong and powerful army worked day in and day out and built the bridge to Lanka.
As soon as Ram and Sugriva's army landed in lanka,the mighty war started.The valor of sugriva's army was showcased by brave warriors like Hanuman, Jambavan and Angadh,they gave a run to the Ravana's organized army with their guerilla attacks. With the defection of vibishana,ravana's brother, during a crucial time of the war,Ram looked like having the upper hand. But the might of Ravana was not easy to overcome,his relentless attacks coordinated by his son,the invincible Indrajit and his brother the mighty kumbakarna was too much to handle for sugriva's army.
With sugriva's army wiped out,Ravana entered the battle,he captured both Ram and Lakshman as prisoners of war and admonished them to a life in lanka's prison. As they were being taken to the prison Ram was amazed to see the beauty of Lanka. The well laid streets,the content citizens,the wealth and economic strength of the kingdom left ram awestruck. From Vibishana Ram learnt more about the laws of the land and how prosperous a kingdom lanka is.
Bharata,ayodhya's king-in-charge,came to know about the fate of his brothers. He sent a special peace mission to Lanka and negotiated for the release of his loved family.He was ready to offer his life as a barter for his brothers'. Touched by this gesture,the noble Ravana ordered for the release of Ram,Lakshman and Sita.
As they were about to abode the vimana to ayodhya,Ram spoke to sita, "Dear Sita,my beloved.I love you and trust you more than myself.But with you living in Ravana's abode for so long I as well as our society has every reason to suspect your piety and faithfulness. So I would prefer you to walk thru fire to prove that you are the purest". By now, a visibly changed Sita contested this,"Dear ram,my lord,my ruler.I see your request to be rightful and just.At the same time,during my absence I do know you have lived in the forests and also enjoyed the luxuries of Sugriva's kingdom for a few days.Hence I request you to join with me for walking thru the fire. Let the world know we are the purest".
Taken aback by this Ram decided not to keep the test of fire for Sita, they flew back to ayodhya and Ram's rule started. Every input he had obtained from vibishana on lankan goverance was used efficiently and till today Ram's rule is considered as the golden rule of india....better known as Ram Rajya.
All was well :).
P.S: Ok Folks... you can send your kids,grand kids for story time to me :P