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: …. 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.


124 comments for “The Rape of Our Epics: Conclusion

  1. RSM
    January 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Amarshiam, it is clear you are barfing on this forum without having read Sandeep’s post. It is also clear that people like Nilanjana do not have the integrity or courage to refute Sandeep’s post and employ sensitive stooges like you who demand apology for exposing falsehoods. You are a hypocrite of the first order and maybe you should start looking in the mirror before writing 1000 word essays lecturing others.

  2. Amit
    January 25, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    CC, ha ha ha.

    amarshiam is doing his bit to demonstrate the truth of the maxim “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

    Let him keep digging the hole he’s in.

  3. Sameer
    January 25, 2013 at 4:50 AM


    In the mid 60s and 70s there was a film called Aradhana , in which Manmohan the villain attempts an assault on Sharmila Tagore , yes it was called rape and Manmohan was called official woman assaulter in the film industry. I distinctly remember there was an assault attempt and rape in UP and the fellow who was caught said he was inspired by the film Aradhana. Those days , the media was not as active as today and there were no one to write that the Aradhana episode was a foolish inspiration to do this. Yes this really happened. I have been reading this blog all over again and again. There was one Krishnadas who wrote about why there is no feminist critique of showing women in a bad way in films. I agree with him

    The rape incident at Delhi involved a juvenile who was the most cruel and do you think he must be mature enough to shun off the influences of the way women are shown in films. He used an iron rod and all that. This is straight from the garbage of the film industry. This has got nothing to do with Ramayana and Mahabharata.

    Why don,t you be the first critique in the world to write about the way women are potrayed in films.

  4. pramod
    January 25, 2013 at 4:02 AM


    Thought of providing a detailed response to your specious arguments, but upon going through your comments noticed one of your responses:-

    “@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.”

    That said it all. Your hypocrisy lay threadbare. NR’s article is thought provoking whereas “innocence of Muslims” was pile of rubbish! “Innocence of Muslims” was a poorly made film but not a pile of rubbish. Facts upon which it was based or not silly, read history. Dubbing those protests which resulted in widespread destruction and killing as something silly & equating it to online comments (or abuses as per you!) by people distressed over a campaign of calumny on their venerated icon’s shows your mindset & thought process.

    The fact that Obama’s administration spent $300m in ads to placate the community over that film raises serious questions which a biased mind like yours will not understand nor accept. As far as I know no Hindu(s) or Hindu organization have reacted in such a manner to NR’s, Sanjay’s or Jyotirmay’s inane, prejudiced articles. The very fact that the Marxist mouthpiece is still continuing its hit job on Hindu icons/practices/religion proves who is tolerant and close minded.

    Your statements are nothing but perfidious antipathy masquerading as objectivity.

  5. January 25, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    I’ve spent close to an hour ,first reading NR’s article and then all the 5 parts here and finally read your long comment.If not for your comment i would have felt that I wasted an entire hour on nothing.Reading this blog was a complete waste of time.

    “It is hard. But we need to do it. Now there are writers, artists, sociologists, historians and others who are doing this. They are looking at many different areas, asking many questions. They are usually the first to ask questions. They are brave enough and have the wisdom to look inwards. And they face a lot of opposition for that.”

    Brilliantly put! Good to know that there are people like you out there in this country. The writer of this blog took NR article too personally in my opinion.

  6. CC
    January 24, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    amarisham, if you want to take a dump, do it in your home or at least on your own blog. why do you insist on stinking up public places with your verbal diarrhea

  7. amarshiam
    January 24, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    It is easy to sing praise of Indian culture and attack anyone who dares question any aspect of it whether related to the epics or related to cultural traditions and practices.

    But do we as Indian men and women have the strength to look inward as well as outward for answers?

    Do we have the strength to look in the mirror. To look at ourselves. At the ways in which we think and act. At our beliefs? At our customs?

    It is hard. Who would want to look at their own culture and see if there might be customs, practices and beliefs that may be related to the mental attitudes that result in the ill-treatment of women?

    It is hard. But we need to do it. Now there are writers, artists, sociologists, historians and others who are doing this. They are looking at many different areas, asking many questions. They are usually the first to ask questions. They are brave enough and have the wisdom to look inwards. And they face a lot of opposition for that.

    And what do we do to them?

    We may question their understanding of these areas dear to us, that we are more knowledgeable off, perhaps we can suggest alternate interpretations, fair enough, but who are we to attack them? In such a culturally depraved way? So publicly? That is totally uncalled for!

    Maybe you are right to think she has made mistakes. Maybe she should have quoted the “original source”? But surely you could have thought of a better way to say that?

    And now look at the title of this post on his blog. Why use the word RAPE? Do you know what RAPE is? How can an article published merely calling into question some modern day attitudes and drawing parallels and making connections with events,people and ideas expressed in the epics be RAPE, even if she is quoting an “incorrect” source or not the “original source” or has made so many mistakes as you seem to think?

    The word RAPE in the title to this blog post was used for one reason and one reason only — to trigger within you, the reader of this blog, a deep sense of resentment of this lady. It is an emotionally charged word. To trigger within your minds the sense of having your epics insulted. THAT is not what she has done at all. That is what Sandeep wants you to believe. Read her article again. It has a positive message on the strength of women. Read her comments earlier on in the earlier parts of this blog. She explains her views. It is a much needed examination. If she has made mistakes in her interpretation then you are in the right to draw attention to this. She does not conclude that rape is caused by or directly related to… but she does call into question peoples attitudes.
    But whatever the case may be there is no excuse for the things you have said of her on twitter and elsewhere. No excuse.

    If NR’s article could be titled the Rape of indian epics then Sadeeps blog could also be titled “The Hindu-Talibanization of the Indian Youth”. Is that a fair comparison then?

    Sandeep, which ever hole you’re cowering in, hear this: You had no right to insult her in the way you did. Apologise as would be the decent thing to do but don’t sit in the gutter and chuck muck and then expect people to appreciate your writings.

    If you chuck muck you are not worthy of being called a writer. You’re merely a muck chucker masquerading as a writer. Stay in the gutter and chuck muck. You will be cheered on by those who are around you but they will only be sitting in the gutters with you ideologically.

    Who amongst us are brave enough to question this treatment of another thinker? On this blog I can count them on the fingers of one hand. Those who have spoken up. Their views may differ from mine but they have spoken up. The others who sing praise and do not see, I can only say, open your eyes. Why do you not see? This fellow is just a muck chucker. He sits in the gutter and chucks muck… on twitter and on this blog… he knows sanskrit, he knows the epics but he chucks muck at anyone and everyone who criticizes or thinks critically on any subject dear to him.

    There is a deep contradiction in there. Can you not see that? Someone used the word Dharmic earlier. Is this Dharmic? Is he a Hindu? or the asli Pseudo-Hindu?

    It is the mediocre mind who will not be able to look inward… who will say that all his traditions and customs are completely flawless are great and are present for a reason and should never be questioned, criticised or indeed changed. The real Hindu who has attained a level of enlightenment will be able to ask these hard questions. The one whose mind is yet undeveloped will merely get angry and react to that anger without any self control.

    What of Sati? Was that not an incorrect deeply flawed practice? How many women over the hundreds of thousands of years of our ancient culture have been forced physically and mentally and lost their lives in that process? But how long did it take to change that attitude? Are there still people in India who really believe that it is required?

    How many women continue to suffer in marriages they have no say in and situations they have no control over to men who abuse and ill-treat them continuously? How many women (and men) continue to be married away to people without their choice or consent? How many women continue to toil doing the work at home, looking after the children, only to have to endure a thankless drunk husband who arrives home late and does nothing but expects everything? how many families expect the woman to be subservient to their husbands, to endure everything and yet say nothing? Because that is her lot in life? to stay with her husband and endure no matter what the situation and what he does?

    Do we still want to point the blame elsewhere??? Are these attitudes and customs not in need of questioning? Do we not want to find roots of these ideas in teachings, practices, beliefs, stories, and even if necessary in the epics?

    It is time we woke up. High time. I know there are others who do not approve of Sandeeps treatment of NR, and of other thinkers. Speak. Do not remain quiet. Say what you need to say. Even if it is a single line saying you do not approve of Sandeep’s treatment of her. You will have felt a bit of unease at reading those words of his. A bit of wonder at how he could say things like that. You need to voice that. Some of you already have. I still have some faith left in humanity because of you — Thank you.

  8. January 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM


    Thanks for your interest in my blog. Now to your argument. NR’s article doesn’t have any serious lines of enquiry that help us understand anything that matters. NR arbitrarily calls it rape, sexual assault as she seems fit. She didn’t explain why she thought taking a re-look at epics and characters in them would help zero-in to the root cause of crimes in streets. The world over this unfortunate thing happens. If you still believe there are serious “lines of enquiry” that would throw light into what some Indian men think of and treat women, you may enumerate them yourself.
    I also read SS’s piece which didn’t appeal to me as it doesn’t address the problem/issue of sex crimes directly. It glosses over them. It dances around the problem, rather than addressing it straight. How does such gibberish – and its gratuitous comments on Swami Vivekananda – help? Not clear to me.

    It is good to read between lines and to formulate an opinion about people and their agenda, if any. As regards me, the people in Social Media are fed up with non-representation of their views and opinions in Main Stream Media. Barring a few fringe elements, most on social media write because they love their country and culture, see their past with an open mind, expect an end to vote-bank politics etc. It’s a familiar theme. BTW, I don’t have any political agenda. My interest lies in Indian epics, culture, literature etc. Happy reading.


  9. January 24, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    The Rape of Our Epics: Conclusion: It may be appropriate to recollect a saying in Telugu: “Pen is mghtier than sword”. Probably this seems to be more true to nurture and promote bitterness. In general, any cultural texts/stories of yore are intended to develop moral character and strength of mind against abusive practices and not to be viewed in a skewed perception to rub on the wrong side to develop unhealthy and unholy activities. Afterall every writing may drive the reader to a positive or thinking. But the aim of the epics is for the positive thinking.

  10. RSM
    January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    “A person guilty of being critical or questioning anything related to hinduism or any other religious person connected to Hinduism (Vivekananda for example) is demonised and nothing else they have said is then worthy of attention.”

    All Sandeep has done is to demolish falsehoods spread about our epics. If in your opinion it is demonizing, then you are a hypocrite who wants free speech for people like Nilanjana, but can’t stand the same for Sandeep.

  11. RSM
    January 24, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    amarshiam says:

    “but in my view her article opens up several interesting lines of enquiry and does not draw a conclusion. We cannot close off these lines of enquiry if we are to be honest and open minded people.”

    Her articles opens up alleged lines of enquiry and Sandeep conclusively shuts them with quotes and evidence. Now if you are to be honest and open minded, you should refute Sandeep on his arguments and reopen these so called lines of enquiry rather than whine without reason.

  12. sjcetux
    January 24, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    You say that in the article by Sanjay Srivastava, the comment on Vivekananda is just “in passing”.
    For one thing, didn’t you see the photograph of Vivekanada too? If it was just a passing by comment, why have a photograph for it (and waste space) ?
    Also, if someone writes an article and has a passing by statement about you (false / abusive), wouldn’t that be a sufficient reason for you question him/her? (or would you just ignore because its a passing by comment?)

    You don’t seem to get the point. Nobody is against criticizing the epics, but we have a problem with dishonest criticism (Sandeep says so clearly in the final post).

  13. Bhismah Arya
    January 24, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    Great post Sandeep…Sometime I found these feminists more extremists then jihadis..they don’t apply their brain to satisfy their ego they can abuse anyone ..these ppl face become Red & White when someone exposes their agenda driven lies

  14. amarshiam
    January 23, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Thanks. I’m reading your blog now.

    I’ve re-read the article by NR and I do not see any conclusion drawn. I see multiple threads interwoven talking about different areas connected to the epics and to male perceptions such as the tendency for men to blame the woman for having gone out as being the cause of a rape in the first place. i.e. that men tend to hold women responsible… and drawing parallels to Sita and the lakshman rekha…but no where do I see her saying that Rape is causally related to the epics or that there is a direct relationship between rape and the epics. I think that is Sandeep’s oversimplified understanding of her article. He is right in questioning her knowledge of the epics. That is fair. But far more important are the lines of enquiry.

    Yes I agree there is certainly no conclusion but in my view her article opens up several interesting lines of enquiry and does not draw a conclusion. We cannot close off these lines of enquiry if we are to be honest and open minded people.

    As far as Sandeep’s reaction, I suspect that it was not so much what was said but that anything was said at all, in any manner critical or calling into question any aspect of the epics.

    Sandeep sees in blank and white. A person guilty of being critical or questioning anything related to hinduism or any other religious person connected to Hinduism (Vivekananda for example) is demonised and nothing else they have said is then worthy of attention. Indeed it provokes a deep emotional reaction within him. This is normal for most people but you would expect more from him!

    And this is not the first time.. this has happened with other writers as well… for example the article by Sanjay Srivastava is deeply thought provoking but a comment in passing on “Swami Vivekananda’s masculine photographic-pose was only one aspect of the cult of masculinity encouraged and tolerated by nationalism.” led to the entire article being labelled “Sanjay Srivastava’s ill-informed rant about Swami Vivekananda”. It wasn’t about Vivekananda at all. That was the only mention of Vivekananda! (An emotional reaction to a perceived insult on areas that are dear to him result in an outburst – this seems to be the pattern.)

    In the same way NR’s article is not directly blaming the epics for rape. One of the things her article does do is draw a number of parallels between attitudes of modern day Indian males and those of men in the epics. That’s my opinion anyway.

    Finally sanctioned rape – as touched on in @Ganapathy’s comment – They have no choice. I do need to do some more background reading on this as @ganapathy has hinted that there is much more to look into. I will then be better placed to say whether calling it sanctioned rape is indeed an oversimplification or just touching the tip of the iceberg as you say. But it would seem obvious that women in those days (and many in India to this day) have no choice not just with niyoga (which is hopefully not performed any more — not without choice at least.) but in so many other areas as well too numerous to list here.

  15. ganapathy
    January 23, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    happy to see the comments of amarshyam and puzzled at the comments of friends on why one should not see the mythological characters in current situation
    we have judges asking women to be sita requesting her to leave her job and join husband wherever he goes and protests against actress selected for doing the role of sita in a telugu movie,actors who acted as krishna,sita becoming MPs and rightwing extremist parties gaining enormously due to the serials on television projecting the mythological characters as superheroes. happy that some have atleast realised the mistake in not taking the hindu idols head on
    the lack of knowledge of NR is saddening as she leaves the major abuses and focusses on trivialities.sandeep who jumps on any question maintains a studied silence to my query of his niyogam theory
    vyasa takes a ugly form to perform niyogam without any lust for women.the queens have no choice but amba refuses the second chance and sends her servant maid.This was the fate of most women during the days of epics. they had no say than and even now even their defendants nilanjanas have no knowledge of them.
    The all knowing sage who takes a ugly appearance has no problem in impregnating the servant too and neither the sage nor the queen who sent the women are another epic ahaliga and even the god is punished when he masquerades as her husband. sandeep may be very proud of this as it states the fact that even gods will be punished if they meddle with brahmin ladies but can have a ball with all others but why should others be happy about these epics. the questions will be more tougher when it starts coming from those groups sandeep

  16. January 23, 2013 at 8:50 PM


    You made a couple of good points in your latest comment. He deleted the tweets and didn’t hide the fact that he had indeed tweeted them. Ad hominem attacks are not the best way to criticize a writer’s article, we agree.
    Next, there is nothing in the Mahabharata that suggests Ambika and Ambalika were raped. That is too much of a stretch of interpretation. As regards violence against women, let’s note that punishments for certain threats and crimes in the ancient world were certainly harsh. Yes, it’s about the disfigurement of Surpanakha. I wrote in more detail in my blog on Ramayana (post:The First Encounter With Demon). Our epics weren’t written y’day or the day before. No point in looking at them with post-modernist/feminist glasses and both “isms” are now passe. Classics (as they stood test of time) have good/applicable/relevant quotes/scenarios that apply to human questions at all times. The first mistake, as Sandeep said in his conclusion – Nilanjana made was to conflate the law-and-order and crime issues with epic characters in too distorted a manner to draw any useful conclusion.


  17. Grand Mariner
    January 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Another off topic post, Sandeep but I noticed you tweeted about the outlook RSS article (my last off topic post), so here goes: Caste system in tamil nadu predates the arrival of indo europeans, study reveals.

  18. January 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    ‘Feminists’, screaming banshees of MSM and some trolls here busy trying to derail the issue of lack of security which resulted in horrific gang rape in the national capital. Instead of blaming lack of governance for the appalling crimes and lack of prosecution, which is making these offenders quite brazen, these durbaris blame patriarchy, epics etc. All, to deflect the blame from Sheila D, Sonia-MMS cabal.

    We must not forget that the bus should not have been on the road, and it was not stopped, nor it should have had dark tinted glasses. Still this bus was not stopped even when it went by the traffic cops, all because that bus gave hafta. And these durbaris have no intention of improving safety and security for women and men. these supposed feminists, humanists, are most venal elite India has.

    B.t.w Justice Verma commission also blamed police.

  19. amarshiam
    January 23, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    A fictional character in one of my favourite sci-fi stories once said “Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.”
    It’s interesting and thought provoking… you do have to be truly incompetent to let a situation deteriorate to such an extent that you need to resort to violence.

    The buddhists and the jains get this. Somehow we’we missed it!

    But by extension, verbal violence is also the last resort of the intellectually incompetent.

    For all his knowledge of sanskrit and hindu mythology this guy didn’t have the self control to be able to control the urge to verbally assault NR.

    What does that say about him? Clearly a mediocre mind. An apology would have gone a long way… instead he’s tried hard to justify what was said… An interesting analysis but futile because it only clouds the main issue.

    The real issue (in my opinion) and questions posed are simple – irrespective of various interpretations… (they all have some form of violence perpetrated by someone or the other) can violence against women (rakshasi or not) be justified? Is sanctioned rape justified? Is there a moral stance, reading between the lines that can be interpreted by the common man (you and me for those who think I’m being superior) to mean that under certain situations the rights of a woman (ambika, ambalika) should not be important? Can be taken away? Does this line of thinking cause Rape? Probably not directly in my opinion.. however the idea that women are less important than men, or their rights are less important than men, that men and women cannot be equal partners… but that women have to worship men… worship the tulasi, be subservient to their needs etc. all contribute to a sick mentality within the mind of the Indian male — That women are somehow inferior to men and in the very very extreme case (certainly by people who’re already quite sick in the head irrespective!) can be used as they deem fit. Is this the cause of Rape? I don’t know. I doubt think there is a single cause that can be pointed at but wouldn’t it be nice if there were morally uplifting versions of stories that had the womens rights defended (in the sanctioned rape case) or such brutality not inflicted? the whole thing is a lot more complex and one can’t just point at a single cause obviously as there are likely many contributing factors.


    It is important to not demonise and fall into the same trap Sandeep falls into only too often… people and their actions should not be seen only in blank and white but in shades.. I will say he appears to be very highly educated if misguided… deeply interested in the epics and Hinduism .. For his knowledge he should be applauded… but he’s lost his way… he thinks that Hinduism and Hindus are somehow superior, should be able to dominate over the other people of the other religions and the rights of these people of the other religions should be taken away or curtailed. I’m calling him out on this. It’s an observation and I am reading between the lines of all the rest of his blog posts.

    I would be pleasantly surprised if he or anyone denies this and I would then gladly withdraw the above statement… obviously you’re also free to try and justify your view point… but if you read between the lines it’s an obvious conclusion from many of the articles on this blog.

    Is it right? I certainly do not think so. Not in my world view anyway. But this is my viewpoint. Religious exclusivism, isolationism, taking away the rights of minorities or peoples of other religions only causes things to get progressively worse. I do hope there are others who agree with me on this.


  20. Krishnadas
    January 23, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    “Some even celebrating Ravana as the hero! and Interestingly Ravana is celebrated as the hero in some Tamil folk stories”
    Yes , Sir , you are right.
    Hare Krishna

    Just for an analogy Mr Amarshiam . Take the example of Lance Armstrong , When he won 7 times he was a hero and now after saying that he doped all the 7 times he has become a zero. What does this indicate? is it releavnt to epics. Yes !!! Very much . Ravana was a scholar , he knew music , he was equal to any pundit, but his asuric tendencies overtook him and he became what he was as potrayed vy Valmikis Ramayana. Lance Armstrong. Ya!!! Ya!! Yaa!! , he was good fellow. He used all quasi asuric methods and got away with 7 cups. Then he got caught for his quasi ausric methods and was exposed. There is a desire to win bhy all souls whether in the epics or in modern times, but one must not allow asuric forces overtake the good and do all bad deeds. I am using the word quasi as Lance Armstrong did not indulge in any violence , but cheated the world lock , stock and barrel. Can anybody come up with a epic in India or all over the world to placate Lance Armstrong. There are so many scholars in India who jump to the epics to correlate a rape incident in Delhi. I am searching for an epic of India, Greek, Roman or , Middle East ( before 5th century to correlate with Lance Armstrong). I pose to all as homework esp for the one who posted about Ravana. Please take this exercise seriously and write a epicology about Lance Armstrong. We are living in interesting times.
    Hari Bol

  21. Amit
    January 23, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Rama, SP, SB: Yeah, doesn’t seem like Amarshiam is interested in an honest debate – as I mentioned in an earlier comment, these guys are full of intellectual dishonesty. Anyway, hopefully others reading the comments can take away something from it. BTW, all thanks to Sandeep for writing these posts.

    As an aside, it was heartening to see that almost all of the comments on Nilanjana’s column in ‘Business Standard’ called her out for her ignorance and twisting facts. I just have to wonder how someone can reach a conclusion that our epics encourage or condone rape – one must have to be mentally disturbed or ignorant to do so.

  22. CC
    January 23, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    If being called a lesbian is an insult, I think we should change that more than anything. Especially as gay rights advances are made and everyone gets to be treated equally, we should strive to remove this supposed taboo against perfectly legitimate words like gay and lesbian. Unless calling someone ‘straight’ or heterosexual is also construed as an insult.

    Being a feminist or at least claiming to be one, Nilanjana should have understood this more than anyone. Why is she perpetuating this ugly stereotype. Doesn’t she have any lesbian friends?

  23. ramgun
    January 22, 2013 at 11:17 PM


    I admire your proficiency and knowledge of the epics to be able to refute this trash point by point with original quotes. Yet, I can’t help you fell hook line and sinker to her bait by posting these kind of abuses / personal attacks on Twitter and here.

    Let’s be clear: the objective of Ms Roy and people like her is NOT to convince people through the power of their logic and reasoning. It is
    1. To sensationalise and gain infamy, as that is probably the only route they have to fame (infamy has a way of translating to fame for a lot of people in India. Ask Phoolan Devi)
    2. To precisely prompt such angry reactions from you, so that she can dub all conservatives as hooligans and abusers.

    Through your actions, you are feeding both these points (giving her more readership i.e. oxygen and also enabling her to dub you as an emotional ranter, ignoring the factual points you make. I would suggest being careful about this in future – to further the larger cause more consistently

  24. nash
    January 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    worried and disgusted

    Your comment – part of it “That reveals a mindset that’s not too different from the Muslim idiots all over the world who outrage and attack embassies because of a film or cartoon created halfway around the world portraying their Prophet.”

    I thought Sandeep gave his rebuttal, that is what i understand.

    Can you lay out so simple and cannot be simplified any further,why is this equivalent to physically attacking?

  25. anony
    January 22, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    epic fail by Nilanjana Roy :)

  26. Sughosh V
    January 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    @ Worried And Disgusting

    Wow. So labelling / calling names is now equivalent to attacking embassies, chopping hands and slitting throats?

    Please. There’s enough “labelling” being done by both sides. It is hardly a crime that directly indicates a violent or murderous mindset.

  27. Worried and Disgusted
    January 22, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    @ SP,

    No, I wouldn’t do a Gandhi, and I never said that. Please dont’ change the topic.

    My sole point : bashing up NR and calling her names because she dared to have a differing opinion on the women of our epics is not something that I condone.

    Write a blogpost explaining why her view is wrong, which is what Sandeep has done, although I reckon he was forced to do it after labeling her views as lesbian fantasy.

    Just don’t call her names or label her automatically just because she doesn’t share your views.

    That reveals a mindset that’s not too different from the Muslim idiots all over the world who outrage and attack embassies because of a film or cartoon created halfway around the world portraying their Prophet.

  28. January 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    well said sandeep….

  29. January 22, 2013 at 11:10 AM


    Well done. Rebuttal to Nilanjana’s amateurish article is comprehensive and detailed. I use this occasion to invite all epic lovers to my blog.

    Or, click on my name and it takes you to my blog. Your comments help me improve it.


  30. SB
    January 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I would like Nilanjana Roy to write more articles on her superior understanding of our epics.
    It exposes the hollowness of people like her for the world to see.

  31. Arindam
    January 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Dear Sandeep

    A scholarly masterpiece I must say .I fervently wish that it should get a wider readership , why not try to publish it as a rejoinder to Nilanjanas article in Business Standard .
    The need for a Mainstream media outlet in TV as well Daily Newspapers both in English and Vernacular countrywide for Hindu point of view is very accute at this critical juncture before 2014 so that general public is enlightened about the bogus and pretentious left and congressi anti Hindu propaganda.

  32. SB
    January 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM


    My guess is that no matter how long or how much effort you put into a rational and well meaning discussion with the types of Amarshiam, it will be like running around in circles.

    You’ll come back to the same points again and again and he will keep jumping topics.

    We’ve seen several of these types in the last few years come and go.

  33. Hemant
    January 22, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    So you found a way to justify those crass tweets. OK, so if that was your intent, why did you delete those tweets? Why not stand by what you’ve tweeted?

  34. SP
    January 22, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Amit and Sandeep, simply brilliant. I do not understand why non-violence has become such a big issue here. Really it was cowards like MK Gandhi, who advised Hindu woman of Kerala to give in to be raped by Muslims in last century, set ground for such an barbaric act. Just google it and you will find the cowards words. NR, if genuine should analyse that not something happened thousand of years back.

    I find statement by Worried and Disgusted worrying. My question to him/her- would you allow rape of your woman folk by anyone, without fighting or resisting. Would you do a Gandhi? I can not allow NR to rape woman of my epics, my women folks. If I have to die defending them I will die, but not do a Gandhi!

  35. Rama
    January 22, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    I have been reading all your responses. What the f— is your point?
    Amit, fantastic responses. But, Is it worth your time in responding to these “open minded” dim wits?

  36. Grand Mariner
    January 22, 2013 at 5:35 AM

    Off topic – Outlook has a new article slamming the women of the RSS for being patriarchal.

  37. gajanan
    January 22, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    “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!)”

    Amarshaim, the Ramayana which NRoy has quoted is AK ramanujans book which is Buddhist and Jain Ramayanas 99%. here is my post. which I had posted.

    As dilkshush singh pointed out if she likes Draupadis fiery approach over surpanaka . let her change her name to Draupadi Roy

    “One interesting aspect of Buddhism and Jainism do not sing paens about Rama but are charitable to Krishna. Remember the controversy over AK Ramanujams Ramayana. He relied on Buddhist and Jain sources. The idea of Buddhism and Jainism was to oppose the Kshatriya class , since war had taken a heavy toll of lives. In fact there is plenty of borrowings in Buddhism from Upanishads and Rishi Atharvans treatise in Jainism. Buddhism has different take in Jataka tales are given from the perspective of Buddha’s previous lives (as well as the previous lives of many of Buddha’s followers), Krishna appears as one of the lives of Sariputra, one of Buddha’s foremost disciples and the “Dhammasenapati” or “Chief General of the Dharma” and is usually shown being Buddha’s “right hand man” in Buddhist art and iconography. IN jainism Krishna was a cousin of the twenty-second Tirthankara, Neminatha. The stories of these triads can be found in the Harivamsha of Jinasena (not be confused with its namesake, the addendum to Mah?bh?rata) and the Trishashti-shalakapurusha-charita of Hemachandra.

    Even though Buddhism and Jainism were an anti thesis over Kshatryias , they take in Krishna as their Biradari , though hard to believe that Krishna existed during or after Buddha and Mahavir as both Buddhism and Jainism are faiths of Kalyug and Krishna had left his mortal coils ages before them in Dwapar Yuga. Is it that both Mahavir and Buddha and their followers liked Krishna for His great chivalry to keep in semblance of Kshatriya activity.( since Mahavir and Buddha were kings, Naipaul comes in handy here when he says that converts reject their origins by impulse in Among the Believers ). AN INTERESTING CONJECTURE IS THAT BIBLE AND KORAN REJECT DARWINS THEORY OF EVOLUTION OF HUMANS FROM APES. IS NOT NAIPAUL RIGHT IN SAYING WHAT HE SAYS . YES , BOTH THE BOOKS CONVERT AND A CONVERT REJECTS HIS ORGINS EVEN IF THEY WERE APES.

    Jains had problems with Krishna as they believed in pacifist and non violence , but later made Krishna the cousin of Neminatha and Buddhism accommodated Krishna as Buddhas disciple ( a kalpa difference in time , how could Krishna be Buddhas disciple or how could Krishna be the cousin of Neminatha?)

    This shows that even though Buddhism and Jainism were in Kalyug , it could not forgo Lord Krishna , but accommodated Krishna according to their convenience. otherwise a yug in difference , how could such an interpretation come to force.

    See here.…

    Now both Buddhism and Jainism have a different view of Vedas , but when it comes to Krishna , they embrace Him ( Krishna in Gita says He is Sam Ved) and for Rama there is heavy conjecturing by both The question is did AK Ramanujan consider Valmiki the narrator of Ramayana was himself present throught the Ramayana to write about it ( remember the Lava Kusha episode when Valmikis advice is sought). it is very strange that AK Ramanujan relied on Buddhist and Jain sources from Kali Yuga ( a term very well used to explain evolution by Krishnadas in one of the postings) , which had no connection to what happened in the Treta and Dwapar Yug. Buddhism and Jainism is a diatribe on Kshatriyas. Being uncharitable to Rama and embracing Krishna by Buddhists and Jains requires questioning of AKRs work since Rama was one yug before Krishna. Sandeep, if you have the time and if you know Sanskrit well ( very well) then you should publish these great anomalies in AKRs work as a critique book.

  38. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    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.


  39. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    ” I hear a different vision/message on this website though. and it’s both deeply disturbing and deeply depressing.”

    The beauty of internet is that no one puts a gun to my head and tells me to go to a website that I don’t want to visit.

    BTW, you have not refuted even a single point or fact that Sandeep has written in his blog posts. If you find anything that’s untrue or not supported by facts, you are free to point it out.

    But don’t indulge in ad hominems or remain blind to facts just because it’s convenient to your narrative and whatever ideology you have unthinkingly imbibed.

  40. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    amarshiam wrote:
    “To answer your question. I wouldn’t ask them because the truly barbaric are beyond redemption..”

    Did you just condemn all Muslims as “barbaric and beyond redemption”? What bigotry and phobia of Muslims you demonstrate!! So much for your open mind.

    BTW, what makes you so special that you think you can or have to redeem others? I understand what white man’s burden is, but this? Are you white, or just white wannabe?

  41. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    “the type that goes up and arms and gets all upset and has a protests over paintings which depict a hindu god/goddess in a bad light.. its just a painting!!! ”

    Or the type who gets all upset over what happened to Shurpanakha, while turning a blind eye to her misdeeds, or that she was trying to kill Sita? It’s just a story in the epic!! :-)

  42. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    “There is hope yet… because there are hindu’s, muslims and christians and people of no religion who are moderate in their beliefs… very few… yet this country was founded on secularism”

    OK – I’ll bite.

    Please post some links of Muslims who criticized what Mehtab Alam did. Post some links of Muslims criticizing what Owaisi said in his hate-filled speeches. Post some links where Muslims support Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen’s right to live freely without any death-threats and their right to express themselves. BTW, which country was the first to ban ‘Satanic Verses’?

    BTW, this country was not “founded on secularism” (at least not in the way you imply) – the word “secular” was not even there in the original Constitution in 1950. The world “secular” (along with “socialism”) was forcibly inserted in the Constitution without any debate in the Parliament by the fascist dictator, oops, sorry, the liberal, secular Indira Gandhi during Emergency. Then again, why let such facts come in the way of your beautiful and demonstrably false narrative? You’ve clearly shown that you place a higher priority on imaginary things than facts.

    This country didn’t need the word “secularism” in its Constitution to give refuge to Parsis who were fleeing Islamic persecution. It didn’t need “secularism” to be the only country that didn’t persecute Jews, who have peacefully lived in India for centuries. Or allow Dalai Lama to have his government-in-exile in Dharamsala.

    Please educate yourself of facts and learn to think analytically before engaging in a discussion.

  43. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    “the type that goes up and arms and gets all upset and has a protests over paintings which depict a hindu god/goddess in a bad light.. its just a painting!!! ”

    You mean the type who gets upset over a blog post by Sandeep – it’s just a blog (and comments here)!! :-)

  44. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 2:55 AM


    To answer your question. I wouldn’t ask them because the truly barbaric are beyond redemption..
    We can only engage with the more moderate elements and hope that the law of the land prevails over the ones who commit acts that you speak off…
    Hinduism has had its day of non-violence… and I still have hopes that the moderate hindu will thrive and the more fanatical elements (such some of those found on this cesspool of a blog) will be left out… but its the sort of person who gets offended and reacts in an emotional and irrational way that gives hinduism a bad name… the sort of person who would resort personal attacks… You and your types over here on this blog exemplify this type of hindu… the type that goes up and arms and gets all upset and has a protests over paintings which depict a hindu god/goddess in a bad light.. its just a painting!!! what’s going on?? or someone who writes an article questioning some aspect of the epics… and you get all upset… personal attacks follow.

    There is hope yet… because there are hindu’s, muslims and christians and people of no religion who are moderate in their beliefs… very few… yet this country was founded on secularism… if it is to survive we can’t move away from that… I hear a different vision/message on this website though. and it’s both deeply disturbing and deeply depressing.

  45. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    BTW, amarshiam, instead of blaming the epics, perhaps you should pull your head out of the sand and start asking for accountability from the ruling Congress/UPA government – a liberal, secular government, BTW – as to their mismanagement, absence of law and order, hafta from bus drivers, their actual – not imagined, not some capability – violence against peaceful protesters, their moving of the victim to Singapore and whether her doctors recommended it, her immediate cremation in the middle of the night (just like Britishers did to Bhagat Singh’s body) when her body was returned from singapore.

    Then again, you or Nilanjana won’t ask such meaningful questions, and instead, waste time and energy, and divert focus on to irrelevant topics. Because it takes courage to ask such questions of the government in power, more so when it happens to be a “liberal-secular” one.

  46. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    “Do instances of violence against women for whatever the justification cause them to be less of a criminal act since they were committed by persons otherwise worshiped as heroes or gods?”

    Should no “instances of violence” be done against women even if justified, because they are women?
    How about such “instances of violence” against men? No sympathy for Indrajeet or Ravana or Kumbhkaran who were inflicted with violence?

    Perhaps you feel so much sympathy for Shurpanakha and ignore her misdeeds because you identify more with her. Just like some fools showed sympathy for Kasab while ignoring the suffering of, and justice for those whose son/daughter/father/mother were murdered in cold blood by Kasab. A perfect example of ‘vinaash kaale vipreet buddhi.’

  47. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    Of course I do! (have a low IQ!). I’m sure you’re a lot more intelligent!
    But do you ask any questions? Even silly questions which show you have a low IQ?
    Or are you one of the “kudos sandeep” types? “yay sandeep” “you sure showed her man!”

  48. Amit
    January 22, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    “I can’t cite any. But that does not mean that the question should not be asked does it?”

    So, ask Mehtab Alam that question – what “epic” or religion motivated him to chop off his sister’s head in public in a barbaric fashion.

    But you seem to gloss over actual acts of violence against women in India and instead keep harping over something that happened in the past and has no bearing on any act today – since you admit that no one has cut off a woman’s nose. Perhaps you don’t care for what happened to that woman in Kolkata who was publicly beheaded – you seem to be OK with such acts carried out in India, while baying loudly about IMAGINARY acts of violence based on capability.

    BTW, I’ve already answered your question about Shurpanakha in a previous comment – please learn to read and comprehend instead of sounding like a broken record.

    You also seem to incorrectly conflate an instance of violence in epics as condoning violence.

    I read about “common man” based on your comments – you seem to be of the inflated opinion that going to school/college is the same as getting a magical thinking cap and logical capabilities, and anyone who doesn’t go to school is incapable of correct thinking. Sadly, your comments demonstrate that your time in school/college has been a colossal waste. You should ask for a refund.

  49. Arvind
    January 22, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    @amarshiam: “I can’t cite any. But that does not mean that the question should not be asked does it?”

    You can ask any question, but it just proves your stupidity because you are unable to figure out cause-effect relationships. Asking such questions shows that you have extremely low IQ.

  50. amarshiam
    January 22, 2013 at 2:14 AM


    “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?”

    I can’t cite any. But that does not mean that the question should not be asked does it?

    I’ll ask the same question in a slightly different way:

    Do instances of violence against women for whatever the justification cause them to be less of a criminal act since they were committed by persons otherwise worshiped as heroes or gods? You yourself are condoning the act aren’t you? There isn’t any doubt that the woman was mutilated…

    And I don’t mean “common man” in a derogatory way. It’s you who are reading it as such. It is a fact that there are regions of India where there are no schools to speak off… where reenactments of the epics could form a fairly large part of a persons moral education. Hence the questions. No offence intended.

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