Rama a Central Asian invader, Ravana a native King: Says West Bengal school textbook

A sixth standard textbook in West Bengal titled Atit O Oitijhya (past and heritage) allegedly presents a twisted interpretation of ancient epic Ramayana and makes derogatory statements about Hindu god Lord Rama.

In the chapter four of the book, Ramayana has been linked to now discredited Aryan Invasion theory. The chapter says that in ancient times wanderers from Central Asia invaded invaded Indian subcontinent and that that they first settled down in Northern India and then at Southern regions. The book says, ancient epic Ramayana is an account of that Invasion. It further tries to add strength to the theory by claiming ‘Ram’ actually means a wanderer and is etymologically of the same root as English word “Roam.”

The book doesn’t even shy away from glorifying Ravana, who is regarded as absolute symbol of evil by the Hindus. It says that when central Asians Invaded India, they started referring to natives as “Rakshasa” and “Asur.” It says Ravana was one such native ruler who was later made into a demon by the victorious Central Asians.

The history textbook has been edited by Sireen Masood, a professor of history at Calcutta University, who is also credited for the ‘scientific hypothesis’ (parikalpana) for the book.

Satyavijayi however had not ascertained how old the book is and whether it is currently in use or not.

This is not the first time West Bengal textbooks have been accused of containing content hurting Hindu feelings. In past, the well known Bengali name for rainbow, “Ramdhenu” was replaced by a hitherto unheard term, “rongdhenu.” It remains to be seen if West Bengal Board of Secondary Education takes note of the controversy and issues a clarification over it.

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