Ravana was coalition of ten parties. It was the first coalition government in the history
Every year on Dussehara day Indians burn effigies of Ravana. On that day Lord Rama had killed Ravana who had kidnapped his wife, Sita.
According to the mythology, Ravana had 10 heads. Naturally, every effigy had 10 heads with a big one in the middle. Those who burn Ravana’s effigies every year claim that they burn symbols of evil. This has to be an annual ritual because the evil refuses to die or disappear forever.
I have always wondered whether Ravana had really 10 heads or it is just a figment of imagination. To have 10 heads on a single shoulder is a physical impossibility. The ancient epics used metaphors to describe situations. Therefore, there has to be some basis for this imagination.
In all probability ‘Ravana’ was the name of a coalition government of 10 parties, the first coalition government in the world, each head representing one party. Everything was done in the name of Ravana giving an impression to the later generations that there was only one king. Perhaps, the leader, whatever his real name, kidnapped Sita out of lust or to establish or re-establish his supremacy over his coalition partners. He was lucky that he had the support of his family members except his own wife and brother Vibhishan.
Since there was no opposition party, the leader’s own brother, Vibhishan, played that role and opposed the government’s policies including kidnapping of Sita. I cannot say whether Vibhishan did so out of jealousy or out of conviction or because he felt sidelined. Quite likely, the leader had sidelined him and therefore he became critical of the government and its policies.
The leader’s wife, Mandodri, was not happy with Sita’s kidnapping but had no courage to openly oppose her husband who headed the coalition government.
If my hypothesis is correct, Ravana started the system of coalition governments. It also proves that coalition governments carry seeds of their own destruction.
I do not say that every coalition government in India or abroad is ‘Ravana’ though all of us have seen modern ‘Ravana’ in our own country earlier. For 10 years there was a hydra-headed one with a dummy central head. The real central head, carrying tag of “No. 10”, lived behind curtain with a remote in hand. Another special feature was that its Kumbhakaran too had a remote which he publicly displayed, of course when awake. Instead of burning effigies of such ‘Ravanas’, people banished them.
The Modi government does not fall in this category.
Several political leaders, mostly in position and some threatening to join the opposition, are trying to create a new Ravana to defeat Narendra Modi and BJP in 2019, if not in the Gujarat assembly election this year. It is not yet clear whether the ‘Ravana’ in making, will consist of 10 parties or more and who will shown with the largest head. There are many in the field and many aspirants for the central position. Larger the number of the partners, faster will come the time to burn their effigies.
One special feature of the modern ‘Ravana’ may be inclusion of ladies who cannot tolerate politics without their participation. Politics is not a ‘stag party’. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in particular may provide some female heads for the future Ravanas.
Vibhishans will always be there. The BJP already knows it.Anyone who is sidelined in a ruling dispensation starts speaking “in the interest of people”.
The ‘Ravana’ in making will also have its own Vibishan if he/she is sidelined.
October 01, 2017