PK Balachandran has written in ‘Hindustan Times’ from Colombo on August 11, 2006 , an interesting piece of feature based on a speech of Dr. Karan Singh, Chairman of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
Dr. Singh, while delivering the first Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture in Colombo expressed his views.
At the time of the Hindu epic Ramayana, Sri Lanka ruled by Ravana was much more prosperous than India. It was referred to as Swarnamayi Lanka (the golden Lanka) and contains graphic descriptions of the beautiful palaces and buildings that existed there several millennia ago.
Lord Rama and Ravana were sworn enemies, and the latter met his death at Rama’s hands. However, the people of India respected Ravana as a great Sanskrit scholar and a devotee of Shiva. He was poet himself.
A glorious Sanskrit poem by Ravana addressed to Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Cosmic Dance. It is still recited in thousands of homes in India.
Though many of our historians don’t believe that Ramayana is historical events, the credit goes to many of the poets in last 5000 years who wrote about Rama and made us perceive Him as a historical figure. While Valmiki has depicted him more as hero of the time, at this age I like the character of Rama as depicted by Tulsidas who wished Rama to become the model for all Indian kings. His Ramayana is a story of joint family and he does every thing to make the family stick to its traditions even after natural turbulences.
However, I shall certainly agree with Dr. Karan Singh and so will many. Ravan’s Lanka was certainly one of the best cities of the time.