NEW DELHI – Unlike the celebratory mood in the North where Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, the mood in Tamil Nadu was a little different.
In the southern state, Lord Ram’s arch rival, Ravana, was remembered. On Twitter, three hashtags – #LandofRavana and #TamilPrideRavana and #LandOfRavanan – trended.
Tamils lavished praise on “demon king” Ravana, who is eulogised for his valour in Kambaramayanam, the Tamil version of Ramayana penned by Valmiki.
Ravana, who is considered as a demon king in North India for his animosity towards Lord Ram, is celebrated as the pride of Tamils by many who believe he ruled the race once upon a time.
There were intense exchanges between lovers of Ram and Ravana. However, hashtags praising Lord Ram and those related to the event was trending way above these three.
It is not unusual for a cohort of Twitter handles promoting the anti-Modi opinion to reach trend-levels – it has happened on numerous occasions when the Prime Minister visited the state.
On Wednesday morning, the emergence of such a trend quickly got embroiled in the question over the identity of Ravana himself, with some claiming him to be a Shaivite, while others pointing to the Sinhalas celebrating him as an ethnic God, while others postulated him as Brahmin.
In no time, Tamil Twitter was in a bind over Ram’s arch rival on a day the BJP-led Centre celebrated a “historic” success of what has been a “500-year struggle,” according to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Following are some of the messages on Twitter:
“This is Ravana’s land! And Ravana is our pride not Rama! #TamilPrideRavanaa”
— பெருஞ்சித்திரன் (@Chithiran_twitz) August 5, 2020
“India is the land of Ravana, there is no space for any Rama.”
— கற்றது அரசியல் (@Learnedpolitics) August 5, 2020
“Lanka ruled by Ravana has been a thousand times higher than Rama’s Ayodhya. Then why we call good rule Rama rule and bad rule Ravana rule?”
— Fight against #HindutvaHasbara (@Zahid_iok) August 5, 2020
“Tamils are not Hindus. So, Rama is not our God. #LandOfRavanan #LandOfRavana.”
At 4 pm, #LandofRavana was mentioned in 33,000 tweets, while #TamilPrideRavana secured 23,000 mentions on Twitter.