When one tries reading and understanding an epic like Ramayana, one can easily misinterpret whether with wanton hatred towards the hero of the epic or due to sheer ineptitude. But for those, who look to gain knowledge, Ramayana is an ocean of such knowledge. One such grain of knowledge involves the incident of Lord Sri Rama sending his pregnant wife to the forest due to the charges leveled by a citizen of his Rajya. For those who choose to see the evil in it, it is their choice. But for those, who want to understand the intent behind it, this is my interpretation after much reading.
Lord Rama was a rock of Dharma and he abides by those principles till his last. But what is more inspiring is the fact that he takes into account the accusation of a common citizen’s own version of Dharma, thus sending Sita to the forests. This is where I suppose the first seeds of Democracy were sown. It is not enough that the King abides by the principles of Dharma if the citizens are unscrupulous. It takes the citizens to follow the path of Dharma to establish a just and equitable society. So in essence even Rama knew, that it takes the citizens of a nation to run it and no one man can be given the entire power.
Heir or successors may be or may not be good. But when the citizenry takes a vow to follow the path of Dharma, the establishment has no choice but to follow the same path and thus were leaders born from the citizens of a nation. This was in essence the true tenet of a Democracy and in these times there are still most of the things that I said that can be compared to whats happening today.
After 1000 years of tyranny and oppression, we fought a brutal war to secure independence and truly enter the era of democracy but old habits dont die a natural death. In essence, we entered a world of democracy from Monarchy, but the mindset took 70 years to change. The various corruption scandals, the constant communal exploitation by vested interests and the era of free schemes all resulted in the citizenry realising the need for course correction and elected not once but twice a government riding on the plank of development with convincing majority.
This is where one other part of Democracy needed to stand up and take up the mantel of a responsible opposition so that the government is held accountable. Unfortunately, we have leaders, whose sole achievement is their surname, and are now leading the opposition and trying to create chaos rather than tackle the situation in a responsible manner befitting the citizens of this great nation. Again we can learn from the Ramayana, the essence of a true democracy is critisicm but the critisicm should be balanced and logical rather than bluster and rhetoric.
I believe in our inherent nature of being democratic, the seeds of which were sown in our rendition of history. Let’s not look outside when what needs to be done can be found within our own culture. Let’s prove that we can grow as a nation with unique and diverse cultures with polar opposite opinions but with the responsibility of a mature and sane voice. Let’s make this a lesson to learn the true vibrant nature of a democracy and proceed on the path of Dharma, which believes in respecting others and their opinions without any prejudice no matter their color, caste, religion or gender.
Let me conclude by saying, for a country with such rich history and heritage it is the duty of the citizens of this country to ensure the survival of such a beautiful culture. It is time to unite in the name of that rich and vibrant culture which envisioned the essence of democracy even before the world had any idea about it. Remember when it came to voting rights after India became a free nation, all above the age of 18 were allowed to vote without any discrimination. Many foreign democracies around the world did not give the women of their country the right to vote until many years after they declared themselves democratic nations. That in essence speaks volumes about the richness of our culture. It’s time to remove the glasses of hatred and understand our history better to move forward with a clear and purposeful vision. Jai Hind.