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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    January 28, 2007

    Heroes in the epics

    I have no idea why this thought suddenly came to mind today.

    In the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha, the heroes, the ace archers, are invariably dark skinned: Rama, Arjuna and Krishna in particular. Karna can be seen as an exception. In any case, he wasn't one of the protagonists. I found this to be too much of a coincidence.

    I'm making one assumption here - that the Aryan invasion theory is right, and that the Dravidians were a bunch of dark-skinned folks unlike the fair-skinned Aryans who came from Caucasia, and the Aryans pushed the Dravidians further down south.

    I believe that the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha were nothing more than fantastic stories, the Mahabharatha in particular being a superbly complex story. They aren't for real. If someone (Valmiki or Vyasa, to give them names) did write these stories, why'd he/she pick dark skinned characters as the heroes? During their wanderings, did they come across supreme bowmen from parts of southern India and they just had to incorporate them as heroes in the stories that they were weaving?

    Let's take a counter-view. Assuming that the two epics were in fact actual events which were chronicled by Valmiki and Vyasa, the whopping majority of the characters involved in the epics were Kshatriyas and the events predominantly occured north of the Vindhyas (peninsular India makes very few appearances in the Mahabharatha and would perhaps not even have featured in the Ramayana had Ravana's base been in modern-day Bangladesh).

    This makes it even tougher to explain how dark-skinned chaps became heroes in the epics since most folks in northern/western India were fair skinned. The likes of Krishna, Arjuna and Rama are exceptions. Then again, maybe their skin was just a shade darker than the others and poetic license was liberally used to make them blue/blue-black in colour! But, if they were exceptions, isn't it still too much of a coincidence that all three major protagonists were dark coloured?

    Your thoughts?

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