Mallika Writes: Just Speaking

September 10th

Hindu gods cheat. They lie. When Indra hankered after Gautami, he took on the body and face of her husband and had sex with her. She, unsuspecting, thought it was her husband and couldn’t refuse. Then Indra went off and was never punished. She got punished for hundreds of years. Or take Vishnu. When Mahabali the King from the South was becoming very popular and the gods felt threatened, he took on the avatar of the dwarf, Vamana, and asked for enough  land to take three steps, Mahabali, accepted gladly. But when it came to taking the steps , Vishnu became huge, took one step in the heavens, one on earth and pushed Mahabali into the netherlands, pataala, and stepped onto his head, ensuring that he got stuck there, and threatened them no more with his goodness.

And Hindu rakshasas get a bad name. And get called rakshasas when they are not, and worse, demons in English, when the Greco-Roman demon is anothere being altogether. SO the great Shiva bhakt Ravana is only thought of as the abductor of Seeta – not for his eruditeness, his musicality, his bhakti or )even with Seeta) his respect for women. And Mahabali? Mahabali gets called a demon.

Who was Mahabali? From all I have read, he was the earliest Socialist king.

Let us look at one popular song about him

When Maveli, our King, ruled the  land,

All the people were equal

And people were joyful and merry;

They were all free from harm.

There was neither anxiety nor sickness,

Deaths of children were unheard of,

There were no lies,

There was neither theft nor deceit,

And no one was false in speech either.

Measures and weights were right;

No one cheated or wronged his neighbour.

When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,

All the people formed one casteless race.


Now does this seem like a bad king? Every aspect of his behaviour and belief, from wanting good health for his people, justice, lawfulness, inclusiveness, honesty (Anna would never have to go on fasts), and equality seem like what we need today all over the world to bring us into better times. But the gods (read people traditionally in power having hoodwinked innocent followers) feel threatened by this and call them names. What would the gods do if Mahabali ruled? There would be no complaints as no one would need to complain. And we must admit that we think of our gods either when we are in trouble or because we want to be protected from trouble. So the gods’ retain their power by making us fearful or miserable or ill or troubled. In which case, with Mahabali ruling the gods would be jobless.

But wouldn’t that be wonderful? That the courts would not have long queues because there was no need to steal or kill;  hospitals would not need to proliferate as people would be healthy and so on and so forth!

So while Onam is still fresh, let’s try and convince our Keralite friends that we need the good Mahabali back as Prime Minister on a permanent basis, and that they need to entice him to come. And save us.


September 10th, 2011, DNA


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