Aryans versus Monkeys

Kidipede – History for Kids began in 1995 as a community service learning project for sophomores at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Since 2000, however, it has been entirely organized and run by Karen Carr. Dr. Carr holds a PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is an associate professor of History at Portland State University. Her interests lie
especially in the Greek and Roman worlds, which is where this site began; we have been gradually expanding into other periods in response to audience demand. If you would like to help with this expansion by writing a page, or a whole section, we'd be delighted. We'd even pay you if we used your page. We'd also be willing to pay for peer review. If you've got a PhD in a relevant area, or similar experience (ABD is fine), and would be willing to do peer review, let us know.

"The Ramayana is partly about the Aryans trying to invade the people of southern India. It's an Aryan story, and they show the people of southern India as bad monkeys – not even human. How should we feel about this? Should we not perform the play? Should we try to show that Hanuman and the monkeys are people too? How could we rewrite the play from the point of view of the southern Indians?"

The above excerpt is from

{sidebar id=22}Dr. Carr has inspired me to write the Ramayana from the point of view of the South Indian. I am certain that she is aware that it has been written by a Tamil poet about 900 years ago, but doesn't, in her humility, want to let others know all that. Or perhaps Tamil is actually from North India, who knows? Anyway, I should get to my job now:

I am a South Indian, a monkey, in fact. I was born tiny yet with the longest tail in the family and so I was named Vaalmiki (Vaal = tail in Tamil and Miki = mouse in Disneyland). So I automatically stand qualified to author this great epic. My family belongs to the Angada gotra. Is he called so because he had a gada, I asked, and I was told not to ask that question again. I also asked how I have a tail and I was asked not to ask that question either. I asked if Valmiki, who first wrote the Ramayana, was also Tamil, and my grandfather gave a confused look that meant, I don't know. I asked whether Rama was our friend and my father said, Indeed!

That was confusing. Why does Dr. Carr tell that Rama from Ayodhya attacked us? Perhaps I shouldn't be asking that question, should I? I was told that Rama fought Ravana who had carried away his wife Seetha. I know that an American would have chased the kidnapper in a Carr and easily shot him down. But in those days, Rama had only a bow and a few arrows, his brother and us – a bunch of monkeys – to help out. He was always kind to us and did not once forget that he was taking our favour. In fact, he took my great-great-great…granduncle, Hanuman, with him because my great-great-great-…granduncle loved and respected him so much. In those days it was called ‘devotion'. What is it? you are sure to ask but I cannot give an answer because it is such a rare thing to come across these days, I have been told.

When Rama and his brother Lakshmana arrived at our native place, my great-great-great-…granduncle met them and prostrated, Ayya, welcome to the abode of the Vaanaras! Of course, NOW I realize that "Ayya" means "Arya" or "the one who invaded us". But then why is my brother's name Subb-ayya? Or worse, my uncle's name Ram-ayya? Maybe the Iraqis would be naming their children Bush Mohammed in future. I believe the Vietnamese have already started calling their kids Kennedy Chi and Johnny Minh.

I also hear that Ravana was a terror master-mind, quite like Bin Laden. And he unleashed terror so that people would be afraid of him. Bin Laden is Moslem we say, but Muslims would strongly disagree. Similarly, Ravana was Shaivite, but then Shaivites would say, Not when he turned wicked, not any more, and that is why he fell! And Rama worshipped Shiva just before he went to get Seetha back from Ravana. So, Shiva certainly was on Rama's side. But there is nothing that says that Shiva was on our side – after all we are just monkeys! Only that my great-great-great-…granduncle is considered Shiva Himself descended on earth.

After all we are monkeys, I repeat…what do we have to boast about? Just that some people cry Jai Hanuman which is my gr…(you got it)'s name when they are going out to accomplish a mission that needs courage and power. Just that while Rama was considered ‘just a mortal' after his Mission on Earth came to an end, my gr…is a Chiranjeevi, the Immortal One. In fact many thousand years after Ramayana, when the worst war was fought, he was lurking somewhere around Haryana and advising his brother.

The points I don't understand are: How did Valmiki (the one that's not me) write anything at all about Hanuman? In fact why did Valmiki dedicate a whole Canto to Him? Why is it called the most wonderful Canto of all? Perhaps Valmiki was trying to be compassionate to just a "mere monkey" may be…after all monkeys are people too…going to the zoo…there's a cage too…and all this is true. To learn the rest I wait for the guru…

Logging off,


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