I have since childhood believed Ram of Ramayana was an impractical man and was narrow minded. I loathed his act of sending his pregnant wife to the jungle. I disagreed with my mother when she tried to defend Ram. In spite of Seeta coming out unscathed from the trial by fire, Ram left her due to some inebriated brawl of a lowly idiot. I refused to accept Ram as a God and even opposed anyone favoring Ram. My argument was that he had insulted an entire womanhood. According to me, what he did to Seeta was no better than what Kauravas did to Panchali. I found Krishna's approach to life to be superior.
My mother tried to reason with me saying Ram always lived according to Dharma and was a nobleman like none during his time or any other time. But I disagreed saying, "Seeta too was his subject and he had a duty to safeguard her, especially when he knew she was pregnant. Why did he have to send her to the jungle?". And when Lav - Kush, his twin sons came back to his kingdom, he again refused to own them up till Seeta proved her purity. What a torture of a life that saintly lady must have lived to beg Mother Earth to take her away?". I felt it was a just punishment to Ram as well as his subjects that history will always remember them for what they did to Seeta.
This was last week when the Ramayan serial on NDTV Imagine came to an end. Then I read today's newspaper. The Headline screamed "Mayavati spends Rupees 3000 Crores to erect statues of her own, her party leaders and her party symbol elephant". Now in a state that was begging for some development of infrastructure and quality of life, isn't this audacious? This is just arrogance, megalomania, lack of concern for the people and simply atrocious. How could she do this when the voters had reposed so much of faith in her? I just told my family about the magnitude of this gigantic looting of public money.
That is when my mother told, "This is why Ram IS remembered as Great! He for sure sent his wife to jungle. But from that day to death he slept on the floor. He refused all kind of worldly comforts. He kept a statue of Seeta in his room and always stayed loyal to her. He never married again and never even thought of another woman. He had a precedent of his own father marrying thrice. But all Ram did was dedicate his life to the people of Ayodhya. He believed, being the King, he had the maximum responsibility to remain unblemished in whatever he did. He never blamed anyone for all that happened. Being a King, he was more than a King to his people. He was actually a Father figure and a Demi-God! How many of our 'Elected Leaders' will behave like this today? Ram was just one of his kind. And that is why even Gandhiji had a vision of 'Ram-Rajya' for India. We don't have that today, simply because... Ram was born only once and they don't make people like him anymore!"
Am I wiser today? Thanks to all our Rulers in general and Mayavati in particular!