Why is it that every act of hooliganism in this country is committed in the name of Rama?

It probably is a question worthy of a sociology thesis — and, probably, there is one too — if you know of any, let me know; having said that, though I am not a sociologist, the nagging question remains: why is it that almost every act of vandalism and hooliganism that is committed in the name of saving our culture is committed in the name of Rama? There are several things that come to my mind; first is, for example, the fact that, of the two epics, unlike Mahabharatha where is the enemy is of your own blood (brother / grandfather / teacher / uncle…), in Ramayana, the enemy is the other and he is a demon. Associated with this difference is the fact that in Ramayana, Rama and his army never did any wrong while the methodologies employed by both the sides were questionable at times in the Mahabharatha. Thus, the legitimacy that you think you derive by associating yourself with Rama might be better than what you might be able to derive by associating yourself with Krishna and his obviously questionable ways! What is more, for hooligans who are committing crimes against women, any reference to Mahabharatha might draw unwanted attention to their own brutish acts. Finally — and I think this is very important — Ramayana had always been reinterpreted according to the times — be it Kamban who made Rama a vegetarian, or Rajaji who says that Sita’s agnipravesha is probably a later addition. From this point of view, that Rama’s name is used for devilish actions might just be a reflection of the depraved times in which we are living. If so, keeping A K Ramanujan’s essay on multiple renderings and readings of Ramayana in mind, if you get to read a version of Ramayana in which Rama’s army went into a madhushala to abuse and molest the women there “for the sake of the honour of the mothers and sisters” you should not be surprised; what is more, such a Ramayana might even explain why men were not held to similar standards by a reference to Sugriva and his men (with the exception of Hamuman, we are told), who, even after the passing of the rainy season, spent their time in drinking and merry making instead of arranging for search parties for Sita; and, remember, at that time, in spite of his anger, Rama had only asked Lakshmana to give a warning to Sugriva and remind him of his duty but did not punish him!

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