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How Can We Justify Ravan Dahan For Dussera When 11 Ravans Are Roaming Free?

A rapist is a rapist! A rapist has no caste because terrorism has no caste; no religion. It is high time we acknowledge rape for what it is! An Act of Terrorism!

Trigger warning: This speaks of rape, rape culture, and violence against women, and may be triggering to survivors.

Before you read ahead, I’d like to humbly apologise for what may seem like a casteist and majoritarian take on the issue, but which is only to bring the idea home that a rapist needs to be ostracized from the community, not welcomed with garlands.

One question always irked me about the Ramayana. I’m sure many women share the same feeling with me. The question is – Why did Ram, the ‘supreme manifestation of morality’ banish his pregnant wife and queen, who stood beside him through thick and thin, and who became the sole reason of his supreme glory, to satisfy the discontent of his subjects?

The recent release and garlanding of Bilkis Bano’s rapists made me see the entire tragedy of Sita’s exile in a new light.

The question of the rapist

As a devout Hindu, I found my faith faltering when it came to consider Ram as the supreme God of morality and Ram Rajya, a nation of utopia. But in the light of the release of Bilkis Bano’s rapists, I found my answers.

Ram and Sita were those incarnations of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi who would establish a moral code of conduct for the society. And the whole ordeal that Sita was subjected to was to give a very important lesson of never letting a rapist walk free – to show how a rapist is a threat to even the most pious woman alive if she stays in close vicinity.

As I see it, even after the Agnipareeksha, it was impossible for the people to believe that a rapist could let go a woman untouched. It wasn’t the character of Sita that they doubted and questioned! It was a lack of belief in  Ravana’s character as a rapist that forced Ram’s subjects to question.

So as I see it, as a devout Hindu who believes in Lord Ram and his goddess consort Sita – it was to establish what could happen if a rapist isn’t destroyed after his first act of rape. And the Hindus garlanding these rapists have let down not only our Gods but our entire belief system.

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What first act of rape by Ravana, you ask?

Which brings me to the controversial statement given by some, stating that “since many of these rapists are Brahmins, they cannot be sinners because of their upbringing and ‘sanskaar’.”

Before you read ahead, I’d like to humbly apologise for what may seem like a casteist take on the issue, but which is only to bring the idea home that a rapist needs to be ostracized from the community, not welcomed with garlands.

Citing the Ramayana, Ravana was a Brahmin and he was a rapist! The crime that made Ravana’s pot of sins overflow was not the abduction of Sita but rather the rape of Rambha, who was his daughter-in-law in relation having had married the son of Ravana’s brother Kuber. because of this, Rambha had cursed Ravana that his death and downfall will come to pass whenever he will attempt to violate the chastity of another woman after her. It was his fear of this curse that he never touched Sita while he kept her captive, and only attempted to coax her.

Image source: YouTube

However, again to establish that letting a rapist live after his first crime will be detrimental to all the women and people around, Sita had to undergo all the atrocities. In the Ramayan, ‘brahmahatya’ or ‘murder of a brahmin’ was considered a ‘sin’ in Hinduism, yet Ram went ahead with it, to punish a rapist.

And we are garlanding 11 of them. The only ‘garland’ these rapists deserved is a noose.

I am a Hindu; and I am a Brahmin. And I refuse to acknowledge a rapist into my community. (I humbly plead an apology for this casteist statement, once again!)

With 11 rapists roaming free, how do we burn the 10-headed Ravana?

With only one month left to the festival of Dussehra, I am not able to fathom with what spirit I will be able to burn the ten-headed effigy of Ravana, when 11 garlanded Ravanas with 11 ‘sinning bodies’ are released in public and are roaming free to rape!

Image source: YouTube

Yes! They are roaming free to rape their next victim as I have mentioned earlier through the given exegesis that the only code of conduct for a rapist is rape. They never improve. Their good behavior in a prison of men is no proof against their predatory nature.

Rape is an act of well contemplated predatory terrorism and not some crime of passion. A rapist by nature is a threat to everyone – not any particular gender; rape is not just a crime perpetrated on women! Men are raped too; animals are raped too; people with no confirmed gender identity are raped too; people with a trans-gender identity are raped too.

Rape is an act of terrorism and utter destruction

A rape has long lasting and most of the time lifelong after effect: physically; socially; psychologically; economically. Rape is a clinically acknowledged traumatic event.

Rape terrorizes its victim and everyone living within that social system for a lifetime; for generations to come; for eternity, as it enters our psyche as an archetypal fear. I am a woman and I am born with that archetypal fear of unwanted violation, and most other people (not just women) will agree with me.

Can any government agency anywhere in the world patronize terrorism? Can any person advocate the release of a terrorist?

Image source: YouTube

It disgusts me to think that these rapists were garlanded post their release, and were endorsed as ‘paragons of sanskaar’. It is bad enough that we continuously boast of our cultural history as the one that produced the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, but refuse to see capital punishment even as a remote possibility to give justice to the victims. These epics clearly show what action should be taken against a rapist and the violator of women. Idolising  the rapists with garlands is the reign of anarchy let loose.

Each one of us needs to take action – NOW

It is high time we stop the men in our families from ogling women from entertainment industry as sexual objects.

It is high time that we stop accepting “Men will be men!”

It is high time we stop justifying “Hormonal boys make mistakes!”

It is high time we stop endorsing “Brahmin rapists are not sinners!”

It is high time we unmask the social media trolls in public who pass rape threats at every issue because they are not merely threatening; they are scheming and building courage to rape. And they need to be apprehended before they can act on their predatory schemes…  for now they have got their role models in these 11 rapists, and all the inspiration they need!

A rapist is a rapist! A rapist has no caste because terrorism has no caste; no religion. It is high time we acknowledge rape for what it is! An Act of Terrorism!

We haven’t just failed Bilkis Bano in this release and garlanding of the rapists.

We have failed every rape victim who was ever subjected to this crime.

We have failed our religion; we have failed our culture; we have failed our epics and their teachings; we have failed our God; we have failed Ram and Sita.

We have failed as a society, as humans in celebrating the release of these rapists and in the release of all other rapists who will seek release citing this case.

It is not an occasion to celebrate!

Images source: YouTube and Rohit Bhaskar from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

Dr. Nishtha Mishra

Dr. Nishtha Mishra is an internationally published author. She is a Doctorate in English Literature from one of the reputed Central Universities. She has been an all round topper and has 5 gold medals to read more...

17 Posts | 6,798 Views

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