Monday, January 26, 2015

Ghar Vedi Bibhisana

When I was a kid, I heard the term "ghar vedi Bibhishana" from my mother. She was telling me stories from Ramayana. She explained to me because Bibhishana walked over to Rama's side from Ravana's camp right in the middle of an ongoing war, he was considered a traitor. Bibhisana was brother of Ravana. He  must be privy to many strategies and tactics. He definitely provided insight to Rama's camp about how to defeat Indrajeet, son of Ravana.  Indrajeet was about to become invincible by seeking divine power.

I was confused. According to the epic, as I understood as a kid, Rama was the good guy and Ravana the bad guy. Ravana kidnapped Rama's wife, Sita, while Rama was away in search of food. Ravana wanted to marry Sita, inspite of already being married. So what was wrong in walking out from Ravana's side to Rama's side? My mother tried to explain that one should not let down ones own, even if they are at the fault. You may be called a traitor.

I did not understand the concept then. I do not understand it now. I do understand that it may take a lot of conviction and moral strength to walk out of ideas, beliefs and relations that one has been part of, and walk into an alien relationship. One may have to risk being called a traitor. But I think, it is worth it, if one is convinced of his / her mind. At the end of the day, however, one should be good enough to understand his / her thoughts and mind. There should not be any thought of hypocrisy or opportunism.

In today's politicised environment, one is frowned upon if they  oppose establishment point of view. After 9/11 terrorist attack on world trade centre in New York, US president Geroge Bush proclaimed "You are with us or against us". To everyone it implied that you are doomed if you criticise Mr. Bush and his policies. US created Home Land security, that has power to detain, interrogate, torture any person they considered a national security threat. People who spoke out against the draconian powers, were dubbed anti-national. Back home, when congress MP Mr. Shashi Tharoor praised Mr. Narendra Modi, he was frowned upon by  his party high command. Does that mean that if one is pro BJP, cannot praise good things of CPM or congress? Where does national interest and humanity fit in?

There are many examples in India and abroad, who ask uncomfortable questions far apart from mainstream thought process. Writers and original thinkers Prof. Noam Chomsky, Alexander Solzhenetsyn, Arundhati Roy, etc cannot be constrained by majoritarian point of view. Many of these people in their quest for humanity come out as anti-establishment. Nation must not call them traitors.  If we shut them out, who will speak for the minorities that are left aside by system driven by majority voice. Many scientists and thinkers were burnt on stakes or executed for going against majoritarian views. But without these people, where will be modern science today? Nation must listen to their views for enlightenment on dimensions that one tends to ignore in daily lives - compassion, empathy, kindness, accommodation etc. It is for the administrator to take all view points and take decision according to his conscience that he/she thinks is in greater common good. 

Tags: Alexander Solzhenetsyn, Arundhati Roy, Bibhisana, George Bush, Gharvedi, Noam Chomsky, Rama, Ramayana, Traitor, Ravana, 
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