It is a historical fact that Lord Shri Ram had formed his army with the help of forest dwellers and monkeys for the purpose of attacking Lanka. We all know the stories related to the salvation of Kevat, Chhabri, etc. But, when he was on exile for 14 years, he himself had, in a way, become a forest dweller while remaining in exile for so long. During these 14 years, the forest dwellers had served Lord Shri Ram very well and Lord Shri Ram was also overwhelmed by their affection, love and devotion. Many similar stories are hidden in the womb of history. This is also a bitter truth and history is a witness to it that our sages have also been doing penance while living among the forest dwellers. Therefore, in India, sages, saints, avatar men, etc. have been living closer to the forest dwellers and tribal society. Thus, our traditions, beliefs and thinking are the same. Tribal society is also an integral and very important part of India.
Even today, the forest dwellers in India are basically seen as the embodiment of Lord Shri Ram. They are absolutely true at heart, patient, serious and innocent. It is due to Lord Shri Ram’s grace on him that even today he follows what was said in Satyayug. But, many times, Christian machinists and people with some distorted mentality mislead the forest dwellers from their original nature and call them greedy, greedy and descendants of Ravana. Ravana himself was never a forest dweller and he was a wise king of Sri Lanka. This description is also found in Jain Ramayana. Now the question arises that when Ravana himself was a Brahmin, then how could he be the messiah or ancestor of the deprived class? Like the Jain Ramayana, the Gondi Ramayana also considers Ravana to be a Pulatsa dynasty Brahmin and not the ancestor of the tribals. Some Gond priests also consider Ravana as their Guru brother, since Pulatsa Rishi had initiated their ancestors also. Such facts are also found in history that Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva and a great scholar of his time. When Ravana was lying on his death bed, Lord Shri Ram had told his younger brother Lakshman that Ravana was near death and was a great scholar, so take some lessons from him in his last moments. Then Lakshman had come to take education by standing towards Ravana’s head, then Lakshman was told that if he wanted to take education, he would have to come towards Ravana’s feet. Then Lakshman came and stood near Ravana’s feet, it was then that Ravana imparted education to Lakshman in his last moments. Therefore, Ravana was a great scholar of his time.
Such attacks have been made on Indian culture in the past also. In India, malicious attempts to divide the society among themselves are not new. There have already been malicious attempts to make historical texts like Ramayana and Mahabharata inauthentic. In the year 2007, the Archaeological Survey of India, under the Ministry of Culture of the Central Government, had filed an affidavit, in which it was said that Valmiki’s Ramayana and Shri Ramcharitmanas written by Goswami Tulsidasji are important parts of ancient Indian literature, but their characters are considered historical. It cannot be considered as a record which unquestionably proves the existence of its characters or the existence of events. How unfortunate these things are. To say that Lord Shri Ram and the characters of Ramayana (Ram, Bharat, Lakshman, Hanuman, Vibhishan, Sugriva and Ravana, etc.) are not proven to be historically authentic was, in a way, an attack on Indian culture. However, due to the agitation by the Indian public, the Indian government of that time realized its mistake and withdrew its affidavit from the court.
It is proved through the texts found in the local languages of different countries and through many research papers done even abroad that Lord Shri Ram lived in the forests as a forest dweller for 14 years. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Lord Shri Ram had, in a way, become a forest dweller while living among the forest dwellers during his exile. Also, the communities living in the forests naturally considered them related to them and Lord Shri Ram had become like a god to them and had settled in them in a way. Many forest dwellers and tribal societies have composed their own Ramayana. As such, the Gondi Ramayana, which looks at the Ramayana from its own perspective, has been a part of the cultural heritage of the tribal societies living in the Gondi and Pandavani forests for thousands of years. “Dangi Ramayana” is prevalent among the tribals of Gujarat and “Bhalodi Ramayana” is prevalent among the Bhils there. Besides, the folk Ramayana based on heart-touching folk songs also reflects the sacred tradition of Ram Katha in Gujarat.
Along with this, Ramayana written in local languages is very famous in foreign countries also. Today, the story of Lord Shri Ram has crossed the Indian borders and has reached the world stage and is continuously knocking the door of its usefulness, importance and dignity. Today, this story is found written in many forms, genres and types in different languages of the world, despite differences in place, thought, time, circumstances etc. For example, the name of Ramayana popular in Thailand is “Ramkichen”. Which means fame of Ram. Cambodia’s Ramayana is famous by the name “Ramker”. There are two Ramayanas popular in Laos named “Falak Phalam” and “Phomachakra”. Although Malaysia is a Muslim nation, Ramayana called “Hikayat Sirirama” is popular there too, which means the story of Shri Ram. The name of Indonesia’s Ramayana is “Kakwin Ramayana”, whose creator is the great poet Kakwin. Ramayana named “Bhanubhakta Ramayana” is popular in Nepal and “Maharadiya Lavana” in Philippines. Not only this, Lord Shri Ram has also been accepted as a folk hero in Muslim nations like Egypt (United Arab Republic) and communist nations like Russia. In all these Ramayana also, the 14 years of exile of Lord Shri Ram have been described in detail.
Impressed by the specialties and depth of Indian literature and inspired by the breadth and practicality of Indian religion, from time to time many people came not only from various countries of Asia like China, Japan etc. but also from countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Britain etc. in Europe. Travellers, religious preachers, businessmen, litterateurs etc. have been coming here. Along with mentioning the various specialties and characteristics of India, these people have also written a lot regarding India’s most popular Shri Ram Katha. Not only this, many scholars from abroad have independently written original texts in this context, while many have also translated various texts related to this story like “Ramcharitmanas” etc. in their own languages and many have even written research texts on this subject. Have also prepared.
Lord Shri Ram resides in every corner of the forest dwellers of India. He cannot be separated from Lord Shri Ram. It seems ridiculous to even think about it. The roots of Lord Shri Ram are deeply rooted among the tribals. Therefore, it can be said that we have to be proud of Indian culture while thwarting the evil efforts of foreign machines. Religious India is a wonderful divine country in the whole world. There is no country equal to it because Lord Shri Ram and Shri Krishna were born in India. God himself has come to our India and not once but many times. We have a holy river like Ganga and a divine mountain like Himalaya. Where are the people of other countries so lucky?
Retired Deputy General Manager
state Bank of India