When Ravan writes to humans

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

An Indian artist dressed as demon king Ravana looks on during the religious procession Ravan Ki Barat, to mark the Dussehra festival, in Allahabad on September 25, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Dear Humans,

I am writing this letter to you with a heavy heart. Ages and ages have rolled by. Sitting silently in the azure blue sky every year, I witness this spectacle with painful and indignant heart. Some of you, the great craftsmen of matchless calibre reconstruct me to deconstruct me. Having stuffed the inside hollow with inflammatory material, you meticulously position me in a spacious ground in your city. Here, I am not alone as my brother and son flank me from both sides. They are also positioned to face public humiliation.

I am always erected in the middle and thus get a clear view of age-old, ossified ritual over and over every year. The show begins with exceptional fanfare; crackers are burnt mindlessly, and all of you revel in merrymaking before one final annual assault on me and my kin. A few wiser men among you have rightly remarked that one person’s pain is another person’s pleasure.

Indeed, you derive a sadistic gratification over my pain by putting me and my family through undue embarrassment. I have no hesitation in making an honest confession— I committed a heinous crime. Keeping someone’s legitimate wife in incarceration is a moral sin. I did so ages ago and I was deservingly and befittingly punished with the destruction of my home and life for that criminal act.

Her husband and brother-in-law had settled their score with me on the battlefield. My brethren too had to bear the brunt of my dastardly offense and they unnecessarily paid a heavy price for no fault of their own. In fact, my whole clan was decimated for no fault of their own.

Why are we humiliated every year like this? You burn me and my kin because we symbolise vice in your virtuous world. However, your virtuous world is also fraught with evil. People abduct innocent women, rape and kill them with blood-curdling brutality. Neither do your courts of law hang them to death nor do you ever you put them through any public shame by burning effigies.

I have already pleaded guilty, but like the wicked monsters of your world for my crime, I never attempted to ravish the modesty of the captive. So this year when you start spending your hard-earned money, time and energy into fashioning effigies, I request you to spare a thought to my submission. If you are really keen to burn the evil, burn the evil thoughts within you which make the monsters of your world go on a rampage. That would be a real victory of good over evil.

Really remorseful,

Ravan

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