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Posts Tagged ‘Utopia’

 

(Lord Rama, hero of the iconic Indian epic ‘Ramayana’, is an epitome of virtue. His reign, referred to as ‘Ram Rajya’, is held to be an ideal in governance, wherein the citizens are contented and happy. They experience unparalleled prosperity and peace. Justice prevails. Here is a reality check in the current context.)

Shri Ram Chandra ji, were He to visit India one of these days, would be simply annoyed at finding His name being used for reasons of political expediency and for polarization of society, rather than for promoting high values, communal harmony, peace and an equitable treatment to all citizens of the country.

In case He decides to visit Thailand instead, He might be received with due honours by King Vajiralongkorn, who carries the title King Rama X. While being escorted through the ruins of Ayutthaya, He would be told of its 2,00,000 people and 4,000 Buddhist temples which were looted and destroyed by an invading Burmese army more than 200 years back. Also, about the Chakkri dynasty which restored the city and built the resplendent Buddhist temple which happens to be a major tourist attraction today.

If He were to visit one of the Western countries, He might be pleased to find a relatively better adherence to the standards of governance set by His ‘Ram Rajya’ in the days of yore. With lower crime rates, speedier justice delivery, better security, more efficient delivery of public services, higher respect for women and innovative welfare measures, the developed countries score much higher. Above all, the citizen’s respect for due process of law and a tendency to not only demand rights but also to acknowledge attendant responsibilities would likely meet His approval.

Yet another feature He would appreciate would be the attempt by some of His true followers to hold aloft the high ideals He stood for and to continue to spread the same through publication of scholarly works, holding of meaningful seminars and conferences, and by spreading the message of His unique life amongst the youth of today.

The relevance of Ramayana in the present context

It goes without saying that the story of Lord Ram transcends the vagaries of time and space. The lessons one can learn from any version of Ramayana remain as relevant today as they were eons ago. Respect for elders is one such lesson. Assisting the needy and the underprivileged is another. Showing due reverence to the environment and to members of different species is yet another. Vanquishing the evil amongst us, according top priority to one’s duty in life, sticking to one’s commitments, respecting women, keeping an open mind towards acquiring new knowledge, being proficient in statecraft, addressing concerns of common folks – these are some others which readily spring to one’s mind.

The impeccable manner in which He conducted himself sets the bar for today’s governments and rulers very high. Not for Him the kind of barriers – political, economic, social, attitudinal or otherwise – that we see rising most of the times. Not for Him the kind of back-stabbing, lip service and rampant corruption we notice in high places these days. Neither would He have approved of the absence of an inclusive and equitable society, leading to a meteoric rise of hit-and-run terrorism and communal clashes. Nor would He be happy looking at the kind of treatment meted out to the women folk.

Would ‘Ram Rajya’ remain a Utopia?

The questions that are topmost on the minds of some of us are simply these: Will ‘Ram Rajya’ forever remain a Utopian concept? Will a day ever dawn when the average person on the street would be able to savour the fruits of good governance?

The advent of Industrial Revolution 4.0, backed by rapid advances in technology, provides a faint glimmer of hope, though not without riders. We have witnessed not only an Arab Spring but also the power of social media to sway public opinion. If governments start adopting Blockchain technologies, Truth would stand a better chance to prevail.

As technologies become super-efficient, these could eventually bring about a humbling equality among all human beings, propelling us into an era where the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity get really followed. But since a technology is as good as the intention behind its use, much depends on the intentions of our leaders who wield the resources to use it.

One might sound a little pessimist, but the answer to the question remains in the negative, at least in the foreseeable future. But we have hope. Hindu scriptures speak of the endless cycles of four different kinds. The end of Kala Yuga is likely to herald the advent of a Sata Yuga, followed by another Treta Yuga, which would then see the emergence of yet another ‘Ram Rajya’.

However, for Homo sapiens, this cannot be a cause for celebration and complacency. As long as Lord Ram is around, Ravana would not be far behind. The fight between the good and the evil would continue unabated. This fight exists not only in the external world but also in our internal thought processes. By purifying our thoughts and acting on the same, we can initiate a change which could eventually transform the society.

Ramayana sets an example of perfection which we all need to aspire for. It exhorts us to keep fighting the demons within and without us. It touches the innate divinity and goodness we carry within ourselves. Herein lies the secret of its enduring appeal.

Notes:

  1. This is an article accepted for publication by RamQuest, a scholarly
    journal which explores various facets of Ramayana. It is one of the
    publications brought out by Prof Omprakash K Gupta, Professor in
    Management at the University of Houston-Downtown, USA.
  2. Here is a link to an International Conference on Ramayana which is taking place at Jaipur in India shortly: http://www.ramcharit.org/irc2.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/management-lessons-from-ramayana

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/what-ceos-can-learn-from-ravana)

 

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