Project# 3 at Crystal-Talk Toastmasters Club

Myth of an Evil
Disclaimer: The views are taken from the original article published in Times of India. This speech was delivered within Motorola office premises in Bangalore, India. But Motorola is not responsible for any remark made by the speaker.


" A King, who disregards an enemy and does not protect himself, indeed faces disappointment and would be removed from his position. "

Those were the words uttered by Kumbhakarana to Ravana before going to the battle with Sri Ram, mentioned in chapter 63, Yuddha Kanda, The Ramayana.

Good evening friends. A very happy Diwali to all of you in advance and I hope Dussera was prosperous of all of us.

Today we are exactly in the center of 2 historic dates. The first we celebrate as the triumph of good over evil and the 2nd which is an anniversary of our beloved prince Rama’s home coming. On Dussera, in every part of the country, fierce effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnad and his obese brother Kumbhkarana were ceremonially burnt.

Ravana was a fearless yet extremely educated and laureate Brahmin. The only sin he committed in his lifetime was to abduct a defenseless woman and lusted after her. Although he had his own set of justified reasons to wage war on Ram-
1. Killing of his subordinates Khara and Dushana by Rama and Laxmana.
2. Attack on 14000 of his men in janasthana and most importantly
3. Humiliation of his sister Suparnakha by Laxmana.

But Ravana violated the accepted protocol of war by abducting Sita. Had Ravana chosen to take on Rama upfront in a battle, he would not have been held guilty of adharma.

Now when this is well known that Ravana was not a rakshasa, let us try to understand what rakshasa is and how bad was the rakshasa race. Ramayana has the illustrations that when Hanuman arrived in Lanka to find Sita, he was delighted by its sight. The highways of Lanka were broad and decorated with flowers. The city was crowded with lofty mansions. The houses were spotlessly whites and were built in the shapes of Padma, that is lotus and Swastika. In some houses people were chanting shloks and mantras from ved and puran.

The demonization of Rakshasas as uncivilized barbarians was actually a perfect example of the fact that the victorious writes the history. I am not saying that Rama told the world that how bad the rakshasas were but it was us, the common men, who were overwhelmed by the victory of their king and comfortably took thousands of years to make up stories for our kids.

An extremely difficult-to-read biography of Ravana written with over usage of Sanskrit by Acharya Chatursen, actually throws light on the so called demons of today, who were nothing but simple casts like Brahmin, Baniya and Thakur of today’s times. Yes my friends, Rakshasa, Daitya, Danava, Naag, Gandharva and Devta were nothing but people of different regions, casts and tribal groups.

Let’s discuss about 2 of the most acclaimed characters of the epic who never got their deserving laud, kumbhakarana and Meghnad.
The legends says that Kumbhakarana was a harmless prince who got a curse from Brahma to sleep for 6 months just to save population of vegetation and animals from his insatiable hunger. Ramayana itself tells the wisdom of Kumbhakarana when he told Ravana that he will have to soon reap the consequences of stealing someone’s wife.
Even Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana had a very highlighted and enlightened speech kumbhakaran gave to Ravana before played his role in the war.
Was he an evil ?? Torn between his intellect and his sense of loyalty, he chose the latter. It’s the dilemma anyone can face and may go the Kumbhakarana’s way. Was he wrong??? Should he have gone the Vibhishana’s way to betray his brother???

Then comes the most respected fighter of Lanka, the Meghnad. Popularly known as Indrajit for whom there was no choice. To him, loyalty was paramount. His dialogue with Vibhishana mentions, “Pride in Birth, Friendship and Brotherhood do not govern your conduct?? A stranger will always be a stranger where your own people will always be yours. He who abandons his own country is doomed to perish.”

Inspite of Meghnad bearing the brunt of his father’s sin, his name became immortal. There are countless individuals named after him as Indrajit. Vibhishana’s name died with him. The man honored by Rama himself has become a name from treachery.

It is the leader not a soldier who is right and wrong. Still every year we gloat over the killing of Kumbhakaran and Meghnad. I wish to conclude with this open question we should ask ourselves.

Shouldn’t they be excused now??

Project# 2 at Crystal-Talk Toastmasters Club

Cross Examination of a discriminator
Disclaimer: The view are taken from the original blog written by me@ .
This speech was delivered within Motorola office premises in Bangalore, India. But Motorola is not responsible for any remark made by the speaker.


23rd July 2007.. Orissa Police found 30 polythene bags stuffed with female fetuses. Killed even before they could have opened their eyes.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to the ugly world.

Recently I celebrated end of my 1st year as a father. It is a baby girl, born in an expensive hospital made for upper middle class and upper class people. When the nurse came out of operation theatre she sheepishly said, it’s a girl. With all her hopes of getting a hefty tip crash landed.

In 2002, I was in my 3rd year of engineering. A friend of mine came back from her house after his elder bro became a father and his parents didn’t allow him to take sweets with him because it was a girl and not a boy.
That was scene 1 in a Metro city like Delhi.
Scene 2. 2001. A small town in Rajasthan. A woman asked the nurse after gaining consciousness, is it a boy or is it a girl? The nurse replied that she got a kaani chhori.. girl with disability in one eye..
That lady got a boy and the nurse said that just to avoid the blame of having a buri nazar on the boy.

Centuries are taking their turns but one thing which is seriously consistent in the Indian Society is still the wish for a boy in the family. There is change in the society but the questions are why the change is taking so much time and why the change is not reaching to every portion of the society.

Now, can we assume that the young generation has already upgraded from such mentality and so society will be changed in the next 15 years?

Scene 3: One of my cousins advised me to give tender coconut’s flower to my pregnant wife to eat so that she can give birth to a boy.
Surprisingly my cousin is a doctor and gender of a fetus is decided at the time of conception which cannot be changed later.

Let me narrow down the topic by discussing one question, its possible answers and my counterviews on those answers.

The question is: What is so good about baby boys and why people prefer a boy over a girl??

Anwer#1. Boy will carry the family name. A girl will be married and go.
Answer# 2. Boy will be a bread winner for the family and will take care of the aged parents.
Answer# 3. Marriage is a costly affair for girl's parents.

Now let me counter these answers by my points.
Counterview for Answer#1.
How many of you know the name of your grandfather's father??
What’s this fuss about our family name?
We are middle class people and not the nawabs and zamindaars of 1800 times who boast of their bloodline. In this modern world what we do is what matters. Could Chelsea Clinton outvote Obama in 2008 US Elections just because her father is a former president?

If people are worried about who will enjoy their assets after their death then they should simply think if their legacy can be forwarded to their sons the same can be gifted to their daughters also.

Now coming to the question of whose name should be given to the children. My question is: Is it really important ???

How many of us know/remember Rajeev Gandhi's father's name?? Or Rajiv Gandhi's paternal grand father's name? Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are still flaunting the blood line of Nehru and Indira Gandhi and not Feroz Gandhi.. Priyanka is still Gandhi and not Vadhera, practically.

Counter view #2. Boys will take care of the parents. With the increasing number of young boys and girls moving out of their hometowns to metro cities and abroad, the only thing they can do to their parents is sending money. And with the growing foresight for the retirement options and investments for safe future, everybody is moving towards a state when money will not be a favor to take from children, any more.

So if your son is not with you and you don’t need money also from him, how does that matter if he is son and not daughter?

There are examples of children settled in US, keep sending money and visiting only when any of their parent dies.

On the other hand there are examples of daughters taking care of their parents. So clearly, as marriage is seen a bond between two families and not only between to people, it is a time to realize that if a woman can take care of her ailing parent in laws then similar duty is of a man also to take care of his in laws.

Counter view #3. Wedding is a costly affair for girl’s parents.
Until and unless we make our girls independent, educated and smart, we will continue to be haunted by the wedding expenses and dowry ghost. An eligible groom can be bartered against a deserving bride. The problem is more specific to smaller cities and towns where lesser girls take education for profession and financial independence and are primarily seen as a liability that must get married and go.

I want to conclude with 2 requests:
1. Let the chanda kocchars and indira nooyis of future see this world.
2. Don’t just feel happy that you are educated and you don’t discriminate. Someone else in your vicinity must be doing this. Be proactive, keep your eyes open, spread the word and take the pledge that we all have to root out this evil from this world.