The Rape of Our Epics: Conclusion

Read the previous parts: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Here are my tweets that started it all:

1. Nilanjana Roy’s lesbian fantasies about Shurpanakha: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/nilanjana-s-roywoman-alone-inforest/498048/ …. Nothing new. She’s the latest fantasizing kid on the block.

2. A woman who lusts after another woman’s husband is the role model of several urban Indian women today. Latest exhibit: Nilanjana Roy.

3. I know for a fact that Nilanjana Roy is married. How’d SHE feel if a Shurpanakha type today wanted to sleep with Nilanjana’s husband?

4. BTW is Nilanjana Roy on Twitter?

I deleted all these tweets subsequently. Were these tweets rude and offensive? Most certainly they were. In about 13 years of blogging, I’ve consciously made it a point to not say a word justifying what I write here. People are free to read what I write here and come to their own conclusions about my writing and about me as a person. But I’m breaking this rule only in this instance.

I’ll say this a million times: It did not give me any happiness to put out those tweets. And given how I highly regard women, I felt sad that I had to resort to tweeting this kind of stuff about a woman. Yet I did it consciously.

A few tweets about Nilanjana Roy, and a lot of fury erupted on Twitter and here in my comments section, and this is the kind of outrage that occurs when insulting things are said about a person. Yet why shouldn’t we be outraged, why shouldn’t millions be outraged, when a woman writes a piece that’s based on factual errors, falsification, and selective reading about women that these selfsame millions regard as role models? What exactly gives Nilanjana Roy the right to insult the icons and role models of other people based on her worldview of how women should be? And why should she be upset when I did the same thing that she did by giving a misleading interpretation of those five women? If Nilanjana Roy for example, calls Surpanakha a wronged woman based on convenient and/or selective readings, I can in the same manner, characterize her piece as a lesbian fantasy. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for gander.

If Nilanjana Roy defends this by calling Surpanakha a fictional character, here’s what occurs: why trace the cause for the Delhi rape to a fictional woman? If Surpanakha was a fictional character, Nilanjana should’ve analyzed her using literary parameters. And if Nilanjana believes that Surpanakha was a real woman, then my case for characterizing her piece as a lesbian fantasy only becomes stronger—simply because she has relied on a falsified version of Surpanakha, the real woman, and I just showed Nilanjana the mirror. Sorry, Nilanjana Roy, you cannot have it both ways.

The other charge against me was that I “asked questions about [Nilanjana’s] marriage and [her] husband” and that I “haven’t had the courage to repeat these insults here, in this piece.” As for the courage bit, I’ve reproduced everything above, in this post. As for the marriage and husband bit, let me repeat my tweet here:

I know for a fact that Nilanjana Roy is married. How’d SHE feel if a Shurpanakha type today wanted to sleep with Nilanjana’s husband?

Given all the facts about Surpanakha’s story (in my previous post), I believe this is a fair question to ask Nilanjana and everybody who embarks on a quest to deliver “justice” to Surpanakha. Here’s my last word, the last word derived from the last sentence of her piece where she says:

if you hurt the wrong woman, prepare for war.

Incorrect Nilanjana, it’s not just the woman. In my world, it’s any woman. If you hurt—if any man or any woman hurts any man or woman unjustly, that wrong should be righted even if it means war. That includes anybody unjustly hurting even you, Nilanjana. Like I said earlier, I don’t need to be a feminist to say this. And honestly, when you claim that I have “extreme discomfort with any kind of feminist critique of the great epics,” I can only laugh. I do have extreme discomfort with a dishonest critique whether it is feminine or Leftist or Liberal or whatever other kind.

I honestly have no use for any isms that feed the ego. Be it individualism or the kind of feminism Nilanjana Roy espouses. The ego-feeding is one main reason such isms find immense appeal. And there’s no dearth of logical reasoning that can justify it. Yet, it is this that makes people blind to even the most obvious acts of injustice, which they try to defend using even falsification and bias as valid forms of defence. Of what use then is Nilanjana Roy’s feminism, in this case?

If I’m a feminist in Nilanjana’s mould, I lose sight of all the men who stood by and even lost their lives protecting the women who were wronged. I lose sight of the ultimate plight of all those men who hurt these women. I lose sight of the final fate of a Ravana who could’ve remained happy ruling over a vast and prosperous kingdom, enjoying the best in life. I lose sight of the fate of a Keechaka who was pounded to death. I lose sight of the bloody end of a Dusshyasana who had his intestines ripped out. I lose sight of the sorry plight of Duryodhana who lost everything he had and lay dying with his thighs broken. All these were men who were otherwise good to their subjects, who took wise decisions but whose only fault was to lust after a married woman. And it was other men who taught their own brethren this much-needed lesson. If Nilanjana wants to argue that it’s okay for happily married women to succumb to the lust of other men, I have nothing further to say.

Perhaps there’s yet another side to this. Of all the great epics of the world, only the Ramayana and the Mahabharata continue to influence and shape the lives, values, and beliefs of the Indian people. The two epics are perhaps the greatest forces that unite the Indian people culturally, spiritually, and socially. And this fact is unique only to India. There is almost no direct relation to the life and culture of the Greece and Italy of today to the epics produced by their respective countries. If we observe the so-called critiques of the Indian epics in the early days by the Left, the underlying strain was to deride and destroy their appeal because that was one of the significant ways in which they could realize their pet project of a Red World in India. I wouldn’t accuse Nilanjana Roy of this in the absence of enough evidence, but I’d certainly say that her piece assumes such agenda-based critiques to be valid and builds on them. In this respect, Nilanjana Roy’s piece is no different from Sanjay Srivastava’s ill-informed rant about Swami Vivekananda in the Hindu.

In the end, there’s a simpler explanation for rape: the sick minds of a few men. Sad that Nilanjana Roy had to embark on an 830-word expedition of epic falsification to seek and yet not find this commonsense answer.

CONCLUDED

124 comments for “The Rape of Our Epics: Conclusion

  1. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    “There are the acts of violence and the capability as well. And there is a difference… one the potential to act out the other the record of violence. There are many instances of violence. What of it? ”

    Oh, so finally you come around and accept there is a difference between actual acts of violence and “capability.” Why are you so hung up on “capability” while ignoring the mountain of actual violence, and what inspires it? Some silly game of “equal-equal”?

  2. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    “Seems like we’re in agreement here. ”

    You finally agreed to it – there’s some hope still.

  3. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    “Does the common man think that therefore it’s OK to use violence, cut off a woman’s ears and nose for a transgression, even if it is attempted murder?”

    How many such instances can you cite over the past 50 years where a “common man” cut off a woman’s ear and nose and did so inspired by Ramayan?

    Are you referring to Mehtab Alam who publicly beheaded his sister and took her head to the police station? You’ll have to ask him why he did so, and which “epic” inspired him. Then again, you – and Nilanjana – don’t have the courage to question RoP and evade any answers when questioned about it.

    As I have written before, “common man” – whom you seem to deride as a lower human being – is quite capable of drawing a distinction between an account in the epic and his behavior today, and realizing that the times mentioned in the epics were different. It’s you – a self-confessed “open-minded” and literate person – who seems to be unable to draw that distinction – even after it has been spoon-fed to you – and keep parroting about Surpanakha as if she were the epitome of goodness and was wronged. I don’t understand why you are so hung up on it.

  4. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    “You are the one who presented something that’s obvious as some grand epiphany or major indictment of Hindus. Something that I stated was a given and doesn’t need any explanation. But that point is totally irrelevant.”

    Again it’s not a “grand epiphany”. It’s just obvious. Seems like we’re in agreement here.

    “I was using YOUR logic where you don’t see much of a difference between actual acts of violence and capability of violence.”

    There are the acts of violence and the capability as well. And there is a difference… one the potential to act out the other the record of violence. There are many instances of violence. What of it?

    The point is the moral code of the common man in the form of the epics is rife with instances of violence. Do the epics condone it? Justify it? Does the common man think that therefore it’s OK to use violence, cut off a woman’s ears and nose for a transgression, even if it is attempted murder? I don’t know. But the question should be asked in the first place.

    Merely getting offended and reacting to someone asking a question serves no purpose.

  5. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    “I think you’re just very upset at this point. I don’t mean to be insulting.”

    What makes you ASSume that I am upset?

    “So your attempts to insult using whatever means necessary aren’t really justified.”

    But your asinine questions – even after multiple posts of explanations by Sandeep – and Nilanjana Roy’s insults are justified? Wow, talk of double standards and arrogance. I guess since you are a self-confessed “open-minded” Hindu/person, no one should question you. :-)

  6. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    “Not much of a difference between someone making a pass at someone else’s wife and rape?”

    I was using YOUR logic where you don’t see much of a difference between actual acts of violence and capability of violence.

    I’m glad that now you’ve started seeing some differences. :-)

  7. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    “The point is human beings are capable of violence to a lesser or greater degree. That’s a given. It shouldn’t need explanation. ”

    You are the one who presented something that’s obvious as some grand epiphany or major indictment of Hindus. Something that I stated was a given and doesn’t need any explanation. But that point is totally irrelevant.

  8. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    @Amit:
    “people coming on to others by ignoring their marital status – so it’s one more step to rape. By your logic, there’s no difference between you and those rapists who actually did the deed in Delhi, since you are capable of the same act.”

    Is that what you think? It’s one more step? Not much of a difference between someone making a pass at someone else’s wife and rape? Do you really think that?

    I think you’re just very upset at this point. I don’t mean to be insulting. So your attempts to insult using whatever means necessary aren’t really justified.

    No the logic doesn’t hold. I’m not offended btw. Just amused.

  9. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    “But that’s the difference, they are capable of being open minded. But there is also this other type of hindu who is entirely closed minded and gets offended at the slightest hint of a question or an alternate view of their beloved epics! ”

    But wasn’t Nilanjana’s post full of anger and vitriol? So, where’s the difference?

    And Sandeep has logically refuted Nilanjana’s arguments and even directly quoted from the epics to show the inaccuracies in Nilanjana’s column. Did you not read the posts that Sandeep wrote? Can Nilanjana quote from the epics to reach the conclusion she reached? She cannot.

    We get offended because people like you and Nilanjana do not read the epics, let alone understand them, twist events to suit your own agenda, and then act surprised when people get angry.

    For example, even when it’s obvious – Sandeep has written it, I wrote the same in an earlier comment, it’s very simple to understand – that our epics do not condone rape and UNEQUIVOCALLY show that those who disrespect women get their dose of justice – you still keep repeating like a parrot the opposite.

    If you cannot grasp this simple and obvious point even after repeated mentions, then there’s not much to discuss. One cannot wake a person pretending to be asleep.

  10. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    “Again I don’t really care to compare the two except to say that they’re both capable of violence in the name of their religion. Not much difference really.”

    @Amarshiam, by your own logic, you cannot deny that you are capable of raping women whom you find attractive. You even admitted that “it happens all the time” (people coming on to others by ignoring their marital status – so it’s one more step to rape). By your logic, there’s no difference between you and those rapists who actually did the deed in Delhi, since you are capable of the same act.

    Please indulge in some more self-loathing now that you agree – based on your own logic – that you are the same as those rapists. Should you be punished for “not much differences really” between you and the rapists?

  11. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    [[ “@Amit you’re taking this out of context. ”

    Just like you take “non-violence/violence” or whether Hinduism condones “violence” way out of context?

    BTW, where would you rank Religion of Peace when it comes to condoning violence, in relation to Hinduism? And if you rank RoP much higher, then would you explain why you’re not focusing on RoP – as any sane person concerned about acts of violence already committed would do – and instead, focusing on some future capability of violence?

    What, not courageous enough to take on RoP?
    At least be honest. ]]

    Sure I can be honest: I think the Hindus I’ve known are highly intelligent, philosophical and open to questioning their religion and everything else. And I really mean everything.

    I can’t (yet) say the same for anyone of any other religion who is openly religious. Though I’d like to be proven wrong!

    But that’s the difference, they are capable of being open minded. But there is also this other type of hindu who is entirely closed minded and gets offended at the slightest hint of a question or an alternate view of their beloved epics! Who can’t control the rage within themselves and reads everything as an insult. It’s really not meant to be.

  12. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    “The punishment meted out sounds barbaric though! Did she deserve it? Is that what you would do?”

    Looks like you didn’t read Sandeep’s post where Shurpanakha tried to kill Sita.

    Why is it barbaric? If it were a guy who tried to do the same to Sita, you would have considered it just if Ram or Laxman had killed him. So, why different standards for women? Is it something that feminists advocate for?

  13. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    @amit. You’re getting upset and a little distracted. I’m not really comparing how Hindu’s react to how Muslims do. That’s not the point. The point is human beings are capable of violence to a lesser or greater degree. That’s a given. It shouldn’t need explanation.

    “And this is some kind of grand epiphany for you? Or is it some kind of indictment? Are Hindus not humans? Of course, they are capable of all such acts that any other human does or is capable of.”
    Not really its just obvious.

    “But you are focusing on some hypothetical instead of focusing on real examples and facts from around the world of violent acts DONE by Muslims, and being an apologist for such acts, in your quest to play some silly game of equal-equal.”

    Again I don’t really care to compare the two except to say that they’re both capable of violence in the name of their religion. Not much difference really.

  14. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    “@Amit you’re taking this out of context. ”

    Just like you take “non-violence/violence” or whether Hinduism condones “violence” way out of context?

    BTW, where would you rank Religion of Peace when it comes to condoning violence, in relation to Hinduism? And if you rank RoP much higher, then would you explain why you’re not focusing on RoP – as any sane person concerned about acts of violence already committed would do – and instead, focusing on some future capability of violence?

    What, not courageous enough to take on RoP? :D
    At least be honest.

  15. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    >Why are you so concerned about Shurpanakha and ignoring that she came on to
    >married men?

    But so what if she “came on to married men”? Happens all the time. Surely handsome men like L and R must have been used to that? The punishment meted out sounds barbaric though! Did she deserve it? Is that what you would do?

    “[[Seems to me that you’re OK with her behavior, and would advocate such today – that anyone should be able to express desire and sleep with anyone, with no regard for boundaries. All married men and women are fair game to satiate your lust.]]”

    No! As I said it’s not justice.

    “[[We do not live in a world where kings and queens rule (that is, if you ignore the Queen from Italy, the dynasty and its latest heir to the throne). Most people have to common sense to see that distinction and recognize that while some things change, other things like human nature remain the same. Only you seem to not be able to draw that distinction.]]”

    Perhaps not but what of the chap sitting on the mat watching the reenactment or the puppet show. If education and schools are missing and the epics are the moral foundation then surely they must be worthy of this. What about asking the question first.

  16. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    “Granted there might actually be a slightly higher probability of that happening in a muslim dominated market place”

    How much higher probability?

    And you are again dealing in HYPOTHETICALS instead of focusing on REAL ACTS – some of which I’ve already mentioned in my comment, which you haven’t refuted, and which you are INTENTIONALLY IGNORING because they poke holes in your theory.

    Perhaps you need to focus on the REAL instead of pointing fingers at the HYPOTHETICAL or IMAGINED.

  17. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    “essentially Hindu’s can also react violently”

    And this is some kind of grand epiphany for you? Or is it some kind of indictment? Are Hindus not humans? Of course, they are capable of all such acts that any other human does or is capable of.

    But you are focusing on some hypothetical instead of focusing on real examples and facts from around the world of violent acts DONE by Muslims, and being an apologist for such acts, in your quest to play some silly game of equal-equal.

  18. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    As for Sharia law enforced in India, here’s one act for you, which happened couple of months ago in Kolkata:

    “KOLKATA: In the first honour killing in Kolkata in decades, a 29-year-old youth dragged his sister out on the street and cut off her head with one stroke of the sword in Ayubnagar locality of Nadial, barely 13km from the city centre, on Friday.

    Scores of residents looked on in horror as Mehtab Alam walked to a police station with the head in his left hand and the sword in his right, dripping blood all along the way.”

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-12-08/kolkata/35688159_1_police-station-headless-body-duty-officer

    But I doubt that you or Nilanjana would have the courage to question such acts and their motivation, because it was done by someone from Religion of Peace.

    Instead, you reserve your “courage” for stupid and irrelevant questions for acts which no sane person emulates today (cutting of nose, “sanctioned rape” of Ambika, Ambalika).

  19. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    @Amit you’re taking this out of context.

    >“Hindu or Muslim they’ll do the same things.”

    >How many Hindus have blown themselves up in crowded markets to kill others?
    >How many Hindus have killed film-makers or writers? Remember Salman Rushdie?
    >How many people had to change their identity and hide – like Mollie Norris had to do – (in the US, >not in Saudi Arabia, I might add) – because of Hindus?

    I meant if you go to a crowded market place in delhi… irrespective of whether it’s hindu dominated or muslim dominated and you make an inflammatory statement or even ask an innocent question chances are you’ll get lynched. Granted there might actually be a slightly higher probability of that happening in a muslim dominated market place… but that was not the point of what I was saying… focus on this part := essentially Hindu’s can also react violently… which shouldn’t be news to you.

  20. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    “Was cutting off S’s ears and nose a justified action?”

    Why are you so concerned about Shurpanakha and ignoring that she came on to married men? Seems to me that you’re OK with her behavior, and would advocate such today – that anyone should be able to express desire and sleep with anyone, with no regard for boundaries. All married men and women are fair game to satiate your lust.

    “What about sanctioned rape of Ambika and Ambalika? And what does this teach the average Indian sitting on a mat watching a puppet show? ”

    We do not live in a world where kings and queens rule (that is, if you ignore the Queen from Italy, the dynasty and its latest heir to the throne). Most people have to common sense to see that distinction and recognize that while some things change, other things like human nature remain the same. Only you seem to not be able to draw that distinction.

  21. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    @Amit
    “Hinduism is nonviolent” was something someone else kept saying to one of my previous comments on part 4. Hence.

    Clearly it is violent, condones violence and sanctions it. Hinduism cannot lay claim to being non-violent. (Possibly Buddhism/Jainism but certainly not Hinduism.)

    The rest of your comment is irrelevant because I do not hold this position.

  22. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    “Hindu or Muslim they’ll do the same things.”

    How many Hindus have blown themselves up in crowded markets to kill others?
    How many Hindus have killed film-makers or writers? Remember Salman Rushdie?
    How many people had to change their identity and hide – like Mollie Norris had to do – (in the US, not in Saudi Arabia, I might add) – because of Hindus?

    As for frenzied rage, doesn’t that apply to Nilanjana Roy and her angry column?

  23. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    “If Hinduism is entirely nonviolent then why is there so much violence in the epics? to what extent do the epics characterize Hinduism?”

    Where do you get this crazy idea that Hinduism is “entirely nonviolent”? What does that even mean? Are you of the opinion that “all violence – no matter what the cause – is bad”? Which would mean that Indian army is bad for defending borders from Pakistan army? Which would mean that policemen are bad if they use “violence” to hold back criminals? Which means the Allies were bad for using “violence” to fight Nazis during WWII? Which would mean the NSG was equally bad for using “violence” to stop Ajmal Kasab and his terrorist pals. Are you really incapable of making a distinction between a rapist using “violence” and someone using “violence” to protect oneself from such a rapist? In your view, both instances of “violence” are wrong.

    There’s nothing in Hinduism that says one should not use “violence” for self-defense or defense of others or to mete out justice or to prevent a wrong from happening. There’s plenty in Hinduism for not using “violence” as the first step or to kill non-Hindus.

    I’m genuinely puzzled by your logic here and you constructing straw-man arguments.

    Better take a basic course in logic and learn to identify the logical fallacies in your thoughts, instead of parading your stupidity on the internet as a badge of honor.

  24. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    @amit
    A parallel was drawn between the frenzied rage – verbal and abusive by many muslims after the movie was released and the frenzied rage – verbal and abusive across many comments on this blog, the blog posts themselves as well as within sandeeps twitter posts.

    Clearly many Hindus are also capable of much violence on these subjects as are muslims. All you would need to do to be convinced of this is go and ask a question or make a statement in a crowded market place in delhi and see what happens! So there isn’t much difference really.

    Sentiments are easily inflamed. Human beings act out. Hindu or Muslim they’ll do the same things.

    And you haven’t answered one of the more important questions. Was cutting off S’s ears and nose a justified action? What about sanctioned rape of Ambika and Ambalika? And what does this teach the average Indian sitting on a mat watching a puppet show?

    Is this the kind of justice you want? Why not then just write your own version of Sharia law?

  25. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    “So why should we not ask these questions? Are the epics holy? Are the epics beyond question? Are the actions of the people involved beyond question? Why should they be? ”

    Are you stupid or do you just pretend to be one on the internet?

  26. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    “And if it is the case that they do form a moral code then to what extent are the actions of the individuals who are otherwise worshiped as heroes(or even gods) worthy of the high moral standards we hold them up to?”

    Will your brave Nilanjana ask the same questions of Owaisi brothers and their hate-filled words – from where is their moral derived and whether it is relevant today?

  27. Amit
    January 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    “Irrespective of whether these are myths or based around real events the fact remains that the stories from the epics are reenacted in puppet shows and dramatized in every little village across the country . As such the events, the people and their deeds are part of the collective consciousness of the Indian psyche. ”

    Exactly. And as it is quite obvious to someone (anyone with a decent brain and basic thinking capabilities), the lessons imparted are quite simple:
    1. If you disrespect women (like Duyrodhan and Dusshasan did), then you will be punished.
    2. If you kidnap someone else’s wife (like Ravana did), then you will have to face consequences and justice will be meted to you.

    Our epics DO NOT impart the lesson that it’s OK to rape women or that it’s OK to disrespect women – as you seem to incorrectly imply or suggest.

    Those who rape women do so by IGNORING the lessons in our epics, not by emulating them.

    Do you really need to be spoon-fed such simple explanations and obvious points?? Are you really that dense or pretending to be so??

  28. Amit
    January 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    “Interestingly there are indeed other versions of the Ramayana. Jain as well as other south east asian versions! (Some even celebrating Ravana as the hero!)”

    And where exactly has Sandeep or anyone said that other “versions” do not exist, or are not celebrated in those regions? The point was that the original Ramayan was written by Valmiki, and all others are DERIVED from it, and the writers of these “versions” acknowledge their debt to Valmiki. And the other “versions” do not supersede or supplant Valmiki’s original.

    It’s not that difficult to understand these simple points – you just need to open your eyes.

  29. Amit
    January 21, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Worried and Disgusted wrote:
    “Please explain to us all how you are any different from Muslims all over the world protesting because of the anti-Islamic movie “innocence of muslims” produced in the US ? there isn’t any in my view.”

    Are you for real? Have you lost your faculties of logic? Do you suffer from cognitive dissonance?

    First of all, show me how much violence Sandeep has committed? Compare that to the violence committed by Muslims in protest and number of lives lost.

    All Sandeep did was write blog posts dissecting Nilanjana Roy’s logic and exposing her lies – that is, in a logical manner, showed WHY Nilanjana Roy’s column was incorrect. How many such articles can you show where Muslims explain WHY “Innocence of Muslims” was wrong?

    Besides, no one is questioning Nilanjana Roy’s right to express herself – only her lies and perverted logic.

    If you cannot even discern such obvious points for yourself and have to be spoon-fed, then perhaps you should first learn to think for yourself before posting your stupid comments.

  30. CC
    January 21, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Superlative post Sandeep. You have outdone yourself with the concluding part and now that I read the all the tweets, I don’t know what the initial fuss was all about. This is nothing like Barkha calling the protesters in Delhi drunken lumpen elements or screaming “oh god what should I tell them” while trying to play match-maker to the dynasty.

    I guess Nilanjana and others like her sympathize with Surphanaka for another reason altogether; they are more like her than they let on and they want some legitimacy to their own immoral behavior.

    Mr. worried and disgusted, I’m pointing out the obvious to you… Sandeep also exercised free speech rights to expose Nilanajana’s lies and offensive remarks about the epics. Why do you have a problem with that?

  31. amarshiam
    January 21, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    @sunil,
    putting my questions out here serves the dual purpose of perhaps provoking some thought on the subjects in other readers. It’s all too easy to say “kudos sandeep” “well done sandeep”, “you’ve done it again sandeep”, etc. What about asking some hard questions instead? NR’s grandmother has no doubt done a fine job and NR is certainly someone I hold in high esteem.

    @Worried and disgusted: It is indeed also depressing… to see people so closed minded as to not even want to consider certain questions without launching into a tirade of abuse against those who would have the temerity to ask them. No there isn’t much difference between them and the muslims protesting “innocence of muslims”. Except that “innocence of muslims” was a pile of rubbish made by amateurs (which made the protests even sillier!) and NR’s article was quite thought provoking actually.

  32. sunil
    January 21, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Sandeep, nice concluding article. Your logic for tweets is convincing and to be frank I had guessed your logic of “showing mirror” in defense of your tweets. However having read many of your blogs before I still feel that those tweets did not come from a usual Sandeep.

    @amarshiam you should find your own answers to your questions. If you think and search without bias you should find correct answers. Or find a sincere non-academic unbiased teacher; such as N.R.’s grandmother.

  33. SCC
    January 21, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Dear Sandeep, good that you hit where it hurt. No mercy or quarter should be given to people who are hell bent on destroying all that we hold sacred and dear. Cowardice in the name of peace has entered our blood. When called upon, Sri Ram and Sri Krishna showed no mercy on those who trangressed their limits even if they happened to be a relative, enemy, man or a woman. There can be no peace unless you are far better prepared and ready for war. Always take the battle in to enemy territory. For someone like Nilanjana who does not think twice before casting aspersion on the character of SriRam and Laxman, she came across as pretty thin skinned. You did the right thing by provoking Nilanjana. We are proud of you. Keep it up.

  34. amarshiam
    January 21, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Interestingly there are indeed other versions of the Ramayana. Jain as well as other south east asian versions! (Some even celebrating Ravana as the hero!)

    I don’t think it has anything to do with shifting attention from the Cong. gov. I doubt any government could have prevented the event from taking place.

    Changing the treatment that women receive and changing attitudes towards women is not something that can easily happen in the short term… If you look at the statistics it’s an increasing phenomenon which isn’t new, spanning across every government that’s come and gone. It’s a symptom of a sickness that runs much deeper than the deeds or misdeeds of any government.

    How many other cases are there such as this, possibly worse that have not been reported or been covered up?

    Changing the law and order situation and/or educating people isn’t an easy task either and is unlikely to happen in a short time frame.

    Irrespective of whether these are myths or based around real events the fact remains that the stories from the epics are reenacted in puppet shows and dramatized in every little village across the country . As such the events, the people and their deeds are part of the collective consciousness of the Indian psyche.

    (So the questions proposed in the article by NR still stand. NR btw should be celebrated for being an incredibly brave woman. It takes courage to ask questions such as these on subject areas so dear to so many. And it takes self control to be able to read things such as what she has written and not run off in a frenzied rage and post random comments on twitter! But I digress…)

    For some who don’t have the benefit of going to a school these reenactments and puppet shows could well form the basis for a moral code… to the extent that they do form a moral code (and I’m not saying they do) wouldn’t it be important to ask some of these questions?

    Firstly without making the assumption that they do in the first place – To what extent do the epics form a moral code for Indians across the country? (Because if they don’t then it makes no difference what L and R did to S.)

    And if it is the case that they do form a moral code then to what extent are the actions of the individuals who are otherwise worshiped as heroes(or even gods) worthy of the high moral standards we hold them up to?

    The epics are a window into the way the minds of our ancestors worked… they tell a story at one level but if we delve a little deeper the stories can give you an understanding of the minds of the people who lived in those times.

    And this irrespective of whether they’re just stories/myths or based on actual events. That’s hardly of importance anyway. For most people they were real events based on real people and so they should be treated as such.

    So why should we not ask these questions? Are the epics holy? Are the epics beyond question? Are the actions of the people involved beyond question? Why should they be?

    And why should there be so much anger directed at people who ask these questions? Even to the point of personal attacks? How can this be justified?

    There are other interesting angles to this and other questions that could also be asked.

    If Hinduism is entirely nonviolent then why is there so much violence in the epics? to what extent do the epics characterize Hinduism?

    To what extent do the epics condone or otherwise promote violence? in what situations?, and separately the same could also be asked about violence against women?

    Given that the action of L cutting of S’s nose and ears is justified (is it really justified?) If the same sort of event were to occur in modern day India would L be deemed to have acted within his rights?

    Given that they had superior strength and outnumbered the aggressor wouldn’t it have sufficed to just stop her, tie her up and send her back to where she came from on the back of a donkey rather than disfigure/mutilate her? Or were they entirely justified in using violence?

    If they were fast enough to cut her nose and ears off presumably they would have been fast enough to stop her using non-violent means? Did R hold S down while L cut her nose and ears off? Or was L so fast at the draw he was able to do that without her moving?

    Were there really such things as rakshasas or was this a racist/derogatory term (with additional mythical spice) used for the inhabitants of raksha/lanka and by extension the people of part of southern India ruled by them?
    (Interestingly Ravana is celebrated as the hero in some Tamil folk stories.)

    Racism and colour consciousness isn’t a new phenomenon… part and parcel of being Xenophobic.

    And then onto modern India. Whats with the whole obsession with being fair? (As evidenced by the large number of ads for skin creams etc. on Television.)
    What about the whole northern Indian attitude to the darker skinned people of the south? So called “Southies”. Does this attitude not exist? Where is it rooted?

    I understand that some of these are emotionally charged topics and if you are offended by anything I have said then I am sorry.
    But it’s all quite interesting from an anthropological stand point. And again I am only asking questions and not proposing any answers so if you’re offended, well don’t be! Answer the questions so as to not be offended.

    amarshiam

  35. Worried and Disgusted
    January 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    wow. Unbelievable set of comments here, exemplified by the likes of SP.

    I’m more than a bit worried about how India is going to turn out with such mentality becoming more widespread.

    Nilanjana Roy gave her opinion on the epics, and according to you lot, it was an insult. Maybe it was. It was an opinion. We still have free speech in the country, don’t we ?
    However, you chose to make it personal, by terming her article a lesbian fantasy, implying she is a lesbian and also implying that you think calling someone a lesbian is an insult. Two strikes in one.
    Disgusting.

    Please explain to us all how you are any different from Muslims all over the world protesting because of the anti-Islamic movie “innocence of muslims” produced in the US ? there isn’t any in my view.

  36. SP
    January 21, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Great Ravi, You tore her into pieces, not physically I mean, but intellecully by your suberb understanding of our great epics and confronting arguments. You have been rather bit soft towards Ms. Roy. I would have been more vocal. As I would say “spade”, a “f$$$$$g sapde”. When you wish to to be treated with respect, you need to respect others, their views, believes. Ms. Roy was paid to write s$$$ in exchange of $s from Church or Arabian Sheiks to degrade Hindu and Hinduism and she is not concerned about anyone else. Thanks for giving her what she deserves.

  37. slc
    January 21, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Sadhuvad

  38. Srikanth V
    January 21, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Well done, Sandeep. Hats off to you!
    Hope she realises her folly and reforms herself.

    Om Shanti,Shanti,Shantih||

  39. January 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    @Sandeep,

    Your post is excellent deconstruction of feminist perspective of Hindu Epics. But, I think you missing the real intent of these Durbaris. They want to deflect the blame for the appalling rape and murder of a young woman from the culpable administration to Hindu epics. See, once you blame the evil Hindu epics for all that is wrong with Congi govt lack of basic governance, the Sheila D, Sonia-MMS can go scot free. And Sonia-MMS-Rahul can come back next election season and ask our votes, so they can save us Pagans!

    I Accuse the ‘feminists’, screaming banshees of Nehru Dyn Tv and others in Media of selling their souls for monetary benefits. It does not bother them that a promising life would have been saved, and countless women would not have been scarred if only Delhi Admin did its job of ensuring safely in transport vehicles. These people want the aam admi to forget that ‘Hafta’, which went all the way up was responsible for the crisis of rape in Indian capital.

    In the end bus was caught because of the entry in the Hafta diary, this is the fact they want to scrub clean, just like the rapists did for the bus.

  40. anony
    January 21, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Well done sandeep! That’s the way to counter deluded, demented minds!

  41. R. D. Choudhary,
    January 21, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Well done Sandeep. My only advice is not to use language meant for hurting even though she has committed blunder consciously or unconsciously best left to her to reveal. For me it was also a reactive inner outrage initially but then wisdom prevailed over reaction. But in all fairness you have shown her the light and correct perspective, point by point, and every right thinking people should acknowledge and appreciate. Yours is an honest, truthful, well studied and fully digested rebuttal of what Niranjana tried to portray in her writings. Do not harbour even for a second any hatred towards her as , I am sure, she must have realised the shallowness of her understanding the timeless Indian epics and the characters involved in them. Intellectually one should never try to distort any timeless piece of literature,art, culture, and the values associated with them, in public either through writings or speech. In all other physical phenomenon one may try. I am reminded of a man in Gujrat who was fond of running but not able to compete. He was too eager to see himself on the victory podium. He failed and then decided to do something reverse. He practiced running backwards and in course of time earned name and fame throughout the world fulfilling all his ambitions. Anything new,attractive and amazing draws public attention and appreciation in physical matters but not at intellectual level ,it simply does not work, rather it backfires. Though by the law of statistics any point of view draws reaction in favour and against both but when it comes to the tilmeless piece of religion,art and culture , one can not escape the public wrath and even Hussain , a celebrated artist could not escape it. I would therefore appeal every Indian, particularly youth community to exercise restraint and accepted established truthfulness , and not get blinded under the glare of modern atmosphere of free expression while writing/ commenting on any religious literature of any faith. In Indian tradition the Vedic mantras invoke peace for plants also and what to talk of human beings. Therefore the need of the hour is to focus on the expansion of our consciousness to understand the true value, meaning and cultural ethos and the larger perspectives contained in our epics. In the absence of it if tomorrow somebody justifies the refusal of Arjuna to fight his own relatives, grand fathers and condems the advice of Lord Shrikrishna, same storm is going to blow in social media. Let us therefore refrain from throwing stones in calm and clear water just to enjoy the ripples which may cause incalculable harm to individual and society as a whole. Also in the same breath I would appeal not to drag epics of any faith into any issues confronting the Nation.
    CONCLUDED.

  42. Parin Thacker
    January 21, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Sandeepji, I have read all 5 installments of your blog with my mouth half open in awe. Never before I have seen such good interpretation of draupadi-cheerharan. Thanks. It just opens my perspective a little more.

    However, may I please beg to differ a bit on your comments on ravan, kichak, dussashan and duryodhan. Please correct me if I am wrong, as I am not so learned.

    You mentioned that otherwise these men were good and took wise decisions for their subjects. Drawing reference from the same critical edition of Mahabharat, I read there that when pandavs came back to hastinapur after king Pandu died, the subjects rejoiced and welcomed their true leaders. Also, when pandavs left for vanvaas, the subjects follwed them and weeped. They cursed the evil king and the prince. This gives me a belief that kaurav administration was not a popular one. Hence, it is reasonably agreeable that duryodhan and dussashan were not otherwise good.

    Coming to kichak, I don’t remember exactly how is he described in Mahabharat, but don’t remember any good deed of him sung in the epic.

    Regarding Ravan, I am not sure as I haven’t studied Ramayan in detail.

  43. January 21, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    Sandeep, you have smashed the last ball of the match for a six and have won the championship. If your article reforms atleast one ‘commie’ writer, whether their stance is due to a concious decision taken for monetary benefits / validation from wester society or out of ignorance, that will be a great achievement. With no ill feelings towards Nilanjana, if your arguments makes Nilanjana see the real causes behind the atrocious rapes, I will bow to her.

  44. Amit
    January 21, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if what Yogi Sikand wrote, also applies to Nilanjana Roy:

    “The hatred that often passed for ‘progressivism’ in ‘activist’ circles was truly astounding, and I fell lock-stock-and-barrel for it. One was trained only to look for the negative in every nook and corner, and, if it didn’t exist where one looked, to imagine and fervently believe that it did. One’s whole life became one great protest. Protesting against real or imaginary injustice was almost the only respectable thing to do. It was as if there was nothing at all good in the world to celebrate, and even as if celebration and joy were themselves an ‘unnecessary diversion’ or a ‘unaffordable luxury’ that truly committed ‘activists’ had to carefully shun. That explained why many ‘progressives’ and ‘radicals’ were horrifically negative as human beings, many of them being irritatingly obnoxious, judgemental, cantankerous, dour and sullen. Their penchant for protest made them only more so. Believing themselves to be somehow morally superior to others because they had, so they thought, devoted themselves to the ‘oppressed’ made many of them painfully sanctimonious and proud.”

  45. padmakumar
    January 21, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    excellent piece of writing.kudos to your mastery of facts and the language,

  46. prabhat
    January 21, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    For once I was curious how the defense for those tweets is going to come about, but Sandeep ji completely shown Nilanjana Roy and her lies their due place! Kudos sir !

  47. Amit
    January 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    chandra, intellectual dishonesty is the bread-and-butter of these liberal columnists. Why would they admit that they are wrong if that would lead to them harming their career?

    I have seen many examples of wild and false allegations by such liberals (Salil Tripathi, Arundhati Roy, Meera Nanda, eminent historians, and now Nilanjana Roy), and when their claims are categorically and conclusively shown to be untrue, they never accept their mistakes and just carry on in a shameless manner. Even the Supreme Court upbraided the eminent historians and their lies during its Ayodhya judgment, but that didn’t affect these shameless prostitutes.

    Vir Sanghvi had a momentary lapse when he admitted to his pseudo-secularism (and that of his fellow-travelers) by feeling contrite about those burnt alive in Godhra, but that admission wasn’t enough for a turnaround. Yogi Sikand is the only person who comes to mind who came clean about how he built his career by milking the misery of Indian Muslims and painting them as victims, and unnecessarily placing the blame on Hinduism. Imagine the harm done by Yogi Sikand over the past 10-15 years as he churned out columns after columns, being an apologist for Islam and falsely condemning Hinduism. It’s the same career path trod by most liberals, as it guarantees success and $, and approval/reward from the west (scholarships, stipends, visiting professorship in a US college) – who knew that self-loathing could be so financially rewarding?

    Though it would be nice if Nilanjana Roy admits to her mistake, I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen.

  48. Seshan
    January 21, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    My two cents..
    Your first 3 parts were outstanding but the explanation for those tweets of yours (not just rude & offensive but crass and repulsive ) over here did not cut much ice. My own guess is those tweets were made when you were really angry and that is perfectly understandable and you could have said so…Anyways you know better.
    One more thing if you care – the tone of your articles is very acerbic & patronizing. IMHO you would influence a lot more people if you could tone it down – I have’nt come across another blogger as sharp & knowledgeable as you.

  49. chandra
    January 21, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    Dear Sandeep,

    My respect has only increased for you. If this five piece critique does not make Nilanjana realize how wrongly she interpreted our great epics then I don’t know what will make her change. Hope she has the courage to admitting that she was wrong. Pranams.

  50. D2thdr
    January 21, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Nilanjana roy rest your sorry self in peace. The coup-de-grace is complete

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