If you’ve ever heard a child explaining the Ramayana in an ‘easy manner’ you will have noted the words good and bad floating around in the narration. Each character in the epic is judged on the basis of what he or she did to the protagonist and then, segregated into the categories mentioned in the title of this post. So while Rama was good, Ravana was bad and Manthara, downright ugly. Simple, isn’t it? But how do you judge Kaikeyi’s envy? Dasharatha’s blind love for Rama? Ravana’s kidnapping of Sita? Rama helping Sugreeva kill his brother Vali? The war in Lanka and the obvious massacre of innocents?
While it’s very easy for a child to pronounce judgements, it’s not as simple for adults especially in the world we live in. After all, it took us four years to decide the fate of Ajmal Kasab, someone my children keep asking me about. And no, it’s not very easy to answer their questions especially when they throw the “killing someone is a bad deed” and ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’ lines at you even if the man in question has slaughtered innocents. When the newspapers flooded us this week with disturbing images and news reports of the bloodbath in distant Connecticut sparked off by a 20 year old and the equally young 23 year old delivered a fate worse than death in nearby Delhi, we parents unanimously wanted justice. In the second case, we clamoured for the perpetrators to be hanged, killed, flogged, castrated, shot etc. I see these words staring back at me from the papers every morning and I wince as I watch my daughters break them and piece them together to make sense and wonder when the questions will rain down.
As a mother of two daughters, this is definitely the end of the world I’ve grown up in. It is an ugly world we live in where man behaves worse than animals, where the good is fast vanishing and the bad/evil prevails.
Is this what the Mayans meant when they predicted the end of the world?