BJP MP Ram Jethmalani’s comment that Lord Ram, the protagonist of Ramayana, was a “bad husband” because he exiled his wife Sita (Nov. 9) was in bad taste. He has not done any great service to the Hindus of India and abroad by saying so. Ram is considered the epitome of everything that is good. Obviously, Mr. Jethmalani’s parents must have revered Ram a great deal, which is the reason behind his name.
As times change, our values change, and those practised by our ancestors cannot be questioned on the basis of what prevails now. Ram’s act of sending his wife to exile cannot be analysed in the present social context.
Ram followed the dharma of a king. He was responsible to his people first, not his family, unlike today’s rulers. If we could understand the Ramayana and follow it, many problems which the world faces can be solved.
Badari Nath Kattekola,
Mr. Jethmalani’s derogatory remarks on Lord Ram and Lakshman are the result of his ignorance. Let me start with Lakshman. While searching for Sita, Ram found a piece of jewellery and asked his brother to identify it. Lakshman said he would be able to identify only the jewel Sita wore on her feet as he had never looked at her face. The eminent lawyer is wrong in saying Lakshman turned down his brother’s request to look for his missing wife on the pretext that he did not know how she looked.
As for the criticism of Ram for exiling his wife on hearing a fisherman say something, Ram did not live a life for himself. He followed the Raj dharma even if it meant depriving himself of many things. After sending Sita away, Ram slept on a bed of bushes, and abdicated all the luxuries of a palace life.
After Lord Ram heard the news that a dhobi (washerman, not fisherman), had spoken badly about him and Sita, he asked his brothers Lakshman and Bharat to assume power so that he and Sita could go to the forests. Bharat and Lakshman refused to become the king of Ayodhya. Therefore, Ram, as a king, sent Sita to exile.
Both Ram and Lakshman started searching for Sita after Ravana abducted her. Lakshman only expressed his inability to recognise Sita’s ornaments, except her anklets, because he always looked at her feet. Here, the devotion to the elder brother’s wife was the message.
Karavadi Raghava Rao,
When there was a conflict of interest as husband and king, Ram followed the raj dharma and sent Sita to Valmiki’s ashram. When, in the forest, Ram asked Lakshman whether the ornaments they had found belonged to Sita — Ram couldn’t identify them because his eyes were filled with tears — Lakshman replied: naaham jaanaami keyuure, naaham jaanaami kundale / nuupuretvabhijaanaami, nityam paadaabhivandanaat (“I can't identify the bracelets and the ear-rings. I can identify only the toe-rings as I bowed at her feet everyday”).
Hats off to Mr. Jethmalani for making bold to criticise Ram and Lakshman, in spite of his strong BJP affiliation! Hats off to the media for not blowing the issue out of proportion! Hats off to Hindus for wisely ignoring the irresponsible utterances of the veteran! This is a wonderful example for followers of other religions who easily fall prey to silly provocations, and harm the innocent and themselves.