With little or superficial knowledge of Hindu scriptures, a section of Hindus — leftists, feminists, followers of BR Ambedkar and EV Ramasamy (Periyar), and even confused Brahmins — celebrate Ravana all the time. A neighbourhood of Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh today joined the club.
On Dussehra or Vijayadashami, they hailed Ravana as the tragic hero and abused Rama, making an exhibition of their wokeness.
Why Ravana is hailed in Greater Noida village
While Dussehra is celebrated as the victory of good over evil, in the village named Bisrakh in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, Ravana is the hero and not Rama.
Defying the location described in Valmiki Ramayana, which makes a village in present-day Haryana Ravana’s likely place of birth, these villagers in Uttar Pradesh believe Ravana was born here and later he went on rule the golden city Sri Lanka. The people of Bisrakh idolise Ravana and mourn our country’s two biggest festivals Dussehra and Diwali as a mark to pay respects to the “Maha Brahmin” Ravana.
They mourn Ravana’s death on these two festivals while the rest of India burns the ten-headed Brahmin’s effigy along with Meghnath (his son) and Kumbhkaran (his younger brother).
Whereas the local legend agrees that Ravana was born to Vishrava and Kaikesi and was the grandson of Pulastya, they get the rest of the story all mixed up. While they believe rightly that Bisrakh derived its name from Vishravas, Ravana’s father, who worshipped Shiva and spent his childhood in the village, they cannot explain why a criminal, even if he is a local, must be celebrated.
The legend has it that Vishravas once found a linga in the forest and established the Bisrakh Dhaam, known as an abode of God.
Vishravas, a Brahmin, was married to Kaikesi a rakshasa princess. Vishravas’s elder son by the first wife was Kubera, better known as the god of wealth, who ruled Lanka until Ravana became the king.
Interestingly, as per local belief, fire sacrifices or call it yajnas as you may please, are held during the festival of Navratri, praying to Lord Shiva’s linga form as a homage to Ravana. The article by Surajit Dasgupta cited above busts the myth the Bisrakh villagers suffer from.