Why do we burn effigies of Kumbhakaran and Meghnad during Dussehra?

We grew up celebrating festival of Dussehra, with the images of three statues burning across the country. I never really questioned what actions of Kumbhkaran & Meghnad lead to them being tagged as ‘evil’ – Just because they were Asura (or Rakshasha)?

With time, as I read a little more, this question kept surfacing. Apart form being a part of the final war, where both Kumbhkaran and Meghnad were fighting for their country (Kul-dharma), were there any specific evil actions that warranted them this status.

  1. Meghnad was the one and only warrior who possessed the three ultimate weapons of Trimurti, i.e. Brahmandastra, Vaishnavastra and Pashupatastra. Using his power and intellect, he overthrew Indra and ruled heaven (hence, he was called Indrajit). He was arrogant and proud of his powers and believed in expanding his area of influence. While these are not ‘ideal’ qualities, he was one of the many people in history who could be labeled the same. Also, Indra was not exactly an ‘ideal’ figure himself (tricking Karna to part with his armor, to get his son Arjun unfair advantage in war, was one of the many acts of treachery)

  2. I found this line of thought to be most prevalent – They were fighting on the side of evil (Ravana), hence, they must be tagged as ‘evil’.

Is it? If the leader is evil, does that mean entire army fighting for him is evil? We do not need to go to Dwapar or Treta yuga to find examples of armies fighting for a wrong cause. Last century in Kali yug is full of such instances. What is the definition of Dharma? What was the Dharma for these warriors when an army invaded their country (although for correct reasons)?

Listen to this dialogue between Kumbhkaran and Vibhishan, where Kumbhkaran answers all the questions and allegations raised by his brother.


3. So they did fight for their country. But why did they not convince Ravana to stop war and the killings that came with it?

They did, actually. At some point during the war. Do listen to following conversations with two brothers, and father-son.



And talking about not following the codes of war (Meghnad was accused of using ‘Maya’ or illusion)- Remember the episode of Ram and Bali. It would be little hypocritical to say Meghnad’s treachery was bad, but Ram’s treachery was good (as it was a wrong done to correct another wrong) – I do not agree with this line of thought.

Of course, their effigies can be seen as a portrayal of evil, and can be taken as a metaphor. I do not find anything more to this.

Please let me know if there is an episode that I have missed, and that portrays the deeds which justified vilifying these two characters.

Green Leaves

It has been a decade since I started this blog. The journey from Blogger to WordPress, from engineering to masters to corporate life – it has both been a short time and a long one. Short in the terms of the overall scheme of things, and long in terms of me as a person. I favor reading a lot more than writing, nowadays – It has come with a lot of patience in my life – And I often find myself wondering about things I didn’t know exist.

Still, I wish I write more. I am not sure if it is a mental block or just a case of priorities. Is this space just a pensive or is it still alive? I will admit that I am not sure anymore. I wish to find that out for myself, and hence you find me here, blabbering without a particular theme in mind.


Wadala House and the Mango Tree

June has been a GREEN month for me. Backpacking across Meghalaya for a week was a much needed detoxification. I encountered the first rains of the season. Flying back to Mumbai, I found the west branch of Monsoons greeting me. Even Bangalore was gleaming with wonderful colors as sky poured incessantly, This is the most tranquil part of the year, which rejuvenates everything – living and animate alike. It does come with side effects, but I believe it has a lot of pros than cons. A festival which spans across months – Monsoons is a pleasant reminder that even a metropolitan like Mumbai has to mend its ways as per the dictate of Nature – And it’s citizens happily go the prescribed path.
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कच्ची सड़क

आज काफी समय बाद मैंने अपने ब्लॉग में लॉगिन किया। प्रथम पृष्ठ पर ही मुझे कई अपूर्ण प्रारूप मिले। शब्द पीपल के पत्तो की तरह बिखरे पड़े थे। एक हवा का झोंका आता और इन सबको अपने साथ उड़ा ले जाता। इन सभी को लिखते समय मैंने इन्हे पूरा करने का संकल्प किया था। परन्तु समय के अभाव और ज़िन्दगी के जटिल स्वभाव में ये संकल्प भी उन पीपल की पत्तो की तरह कहीं उड़ सा गया था। इन्हे पूरा करने की मैं अब चेष्टा भी नहीं करना चाहता। क्यूंकि इन शब्दों के प्राण पखेरू अब उड़ चुके हैं। ना ही अब समय वह बीता हुआ समय है। और ना ही व्यक्ति।

आप आज दार्शनिको की तरह क्यों बात कर रहे हैं? और आज एकाएक हिंदी भाषा का प्रयोग कैसे? मैं काफी समय से यह प्रयोग करने को उत्सुक था। और एक मित्र की सलाह ने अंततः मुझे हिंदी में लिखने के लिए प्रेरित किया। मैंने ये लिखते समय यह भी अनुभव किया की हिंदी में दर्शन शाश्त्र इस तरह से बसा हुआ है की अंग्रेजी इस छेत्र में उसका प्रतियोगी नहीं हो सकता। यह भी संभव है की हर व्यक्ति अपनी प्रथम भाषा में जिस तरह भावित होता है वैसा किसी और भाषा में होना संभव नहीं।

लखनऊ में जब भी मैं हुसैनाबाद की तरफ से गुजरता था, वहाँ के घंटाघर पर मेरा ध्यान हमेशा ही जाता था। उसके घंटे को मैं पेंडुलम की तरह इधर से उधर नाचते मैं देखता रहता। कई वर्षो बाद आज जीवन भी उसी प्रकार दफ्तर और घर के बीच में नाचता हुआ नज़र आता है। इसमें कोई शोध करने वाली बात नहीं है। मैं इसे इस राह की एक अवस्था मात्रा समझता हूँ। मैं मानता हूँ की जीवन में ये अवस्था सामान्य है और काफी सीमा तक आवश्यक भी है। इसी नज़रिये से चीज़ो को देखते हुवे आगे बढ़ते रहने की मैं सदैव कोशिश करनी चाहिए।

अभी यहीं पर रुकता हूँ। बिन बुलाये मेहमान की तरह एक अनावश्यक कार्य मेरे सर पर सवार हो चुका है और टस से मस होने का नाम नहीं ले रहा। इसकी उचित व्यवस्था करने जाना होगा। समय की इच्छा हुइ तो फिर मिलेंगे।

The Social Market

What is the purpose of social networks? Connecting with friends? Gathering information? Staying aware?

Let’s take a trip back in time. When I joined Facebook, I was still very active on Orkut and Facebook was like that new child in the class you went to say “Hello” to but not stick around for long. Time passed by and it became the social network of choice. In the early days of the Facebook, all the engagement efforts were focused around your friend circle and every new feature or development circled around the same. Facebook continued expanding with a vision to connect everyone globally. But with great investments, comes the need for a “Revenue Model”. We will come back to that.

Let’s take example of Twitter. It was like a secret society in the beginning and a great source of information. It used to be a key learning platform (like Quora at present). All the major news of the day could be found in the top trending hashtags. It was a great place to share your ideas, discuss and debate.

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The Bicycle

We lived in a usual 90s middle-class colony. Colorful blocks arranged in a neat pattern around a park. It was like one of those monopoly boards. I was just learning to ride a bicycle then. My father used to help me mount and dismount the bicycle. The rest was taken care of by me.

I used to take rounds of the park. The difficult part was the turn. Four of them in a lap. I used to go completely mental on the bell at the turns. Because God forbid if I had to apply the brakes, I would have come crashing down. After 30 minutes of paddling and executing the plan perfectly to avoid the brakes, I was helped to get down. And there ended a session of me practicing to ride the bicycle.

I was too short then to do all of it on my own. But that was not the only reason I was not learning. I was too scared to give it a try. Even when I did try, it was only when I knew there was someone who would hold me if I fall.

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