THE KING OF CEYLON

FANDOM: RAMAYANA

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Ramayana was a battle between good and evil, the lord and the demon, but very few notice how the demon king was also one of the most efficient kings in the Ramayana universe. He was much ahead of his time and had riches beyond imagination. The work is a fictional background story of Ravana who saves his fellow Dravidians from the ruthless fair skinned Aryans. He did this by building efficient boats which were supposedly not present during the time as Lord Rama’s army had to build Ram Setu later in the epic. This invention may have further helped him in setting up trade routes and boosting his country’s economy, eventually building the City of Gold, Lanka (also called Ceylon.) Written from Ravana’s POV.

 

“Run… run… the demons are coming…”

“None can be left alive. Not a single one of these demons can live.”

“help… help…help…”

 

They were everywhere. The sounds were closer now, the babies crying for their mothers, horses gallivanting. In the midst of all the commotion in the village that night, this one little boy lay hidden inside a trench beneath the town stables. Lying there in the secret compartment that he and his friends had dug up to hide their tobacco from the grownups, he could hear all that was going on, could understand what was happening. There he was, lying on the ground, hiding; not because he was scared, or too young to fight, he was all of those things, but that was not why he hid there now, he hid, because he knew, that out there, fighting for his people, defending their village, was the one man who could beat these men that were pillaging the land of his ancestors.

But deep down inside were ingrained the stories that he had heard of ivory-skinned beings, who rode on their horses and burnt down villages. Thinking of these men who had sworn to destroy everything that he held dear, there rose a small spectre of doubt in his mind. What if the most powerful man of the five forests was not enough to stop these devils? What if even he, who had beaten a hundred young men with his hands alone, was not strong enough to face the spears and swords of men hailing from unknown dark recesses on the other side of the forests?

No.

The thought was too revolting. It was not possible. He must not let such thoughts cloud his faith, for it is in the heart of the timid and the weak that most of the battles are lost. Just as he strengthened his resolve, he thought he could hear the sounds of the hooves moving farther away. He hoped they were going back to the marshes, back to their dark caves where they spent their days in misery. But the boy was making no effort to get out of the trench yet, even though the stench of the stables was finally getting to him. He had just opened the door when he heard a familiar voice shout something.

“Come out now everybody. Come out! Come out!”

It was him. The powerful one, Oh! He felt ashamed that he had doubted the strength of their mightiest warrior. He got out of the trench as fast he could and made a dash for the streets where by now a large crowd must have gathered, and he didn’t want to be the last one to join the celebrations.

As he swung open the door of the stables, the brightness of the sun blinded him a bit, and it was a few moments before he could finally see the aftermath of perhaps the biggest attack on their village in near times. He hoped to see their warriors on the pedestal, the townsmen cheering, lifting them up on their shoulders and taking them around the whole village for a victory march. Of course he knew that not all of them would be unharmed, there would be bodies too, bodies of men who fought bravely for the honour of their village and their families. But the sight that that met him was one he was not at all prepared for. The mighty one was on his knees, a sword on his neck. The demons had won and had him in their shackles. They didn’t slit his throat, they didn’t need to. They left him there and rode back to the forests. The boy ran to his father, lying on the ground, motionless. He wasn’t dead, but he was broken. He had lead the men of his village to slaughter and now, he had to live with that. He wanted to kill himself, but he knew he had to take responsibility and get the villagers out of the reach of those demons. Soon there was a herd of people circling the father. The people of the village wanted to know the fate of their sons and husbands. He tried to stand, powerless and ashamed. He croaked, “I’m sorry, no one is coming back… and we have only until tomorrow to leave.” The boy at this tender age had witnessed something that can break even the strongest; the fall of one’s father. There were tears, loud cries and still an eerie silence; they had fought long enough, it was time to leave. They were in the way of an expanding empire, an empire of people who had come from the great sea of the north and were rallying to form a country for the people of their kind. They were the natives of the land, but they were not equipped for war, they had no idea what it was. They only knew that they had to leave.

They started their journey in the night, taking everything they were left with, and travelled for days, to get as far from those demons as possible. They settled when they reached the ocean; it was where their most cruel prisoners were banished, a place full of life-giving water and yet deadly. Their most experienced swimmers had swam for hours only to return with news of no land. The land around them was not fertile enough for proper vegetation.

The little boy was sitting by the sea. The other children, blissfully unaware of their plight, were playing in this seemingly never-ending waterbody. As he sat there with his hands in the water, he realized it was different from what he used to feel in the pot; he had to apply more pressure to break the non-existent surface. He had an unusual mind, he could think about ten different things at one time and he had started reading the Vedas when he was only two. He was angry and exhausted, and desperate to find out if there was anything beyond these infinite waters. Could they reach some place where they would be able to live more comfortably than on this dead land?

Ten years later

The young boy was now an adolescent and as mighty as his father. The villagers would have told you that the boy was mad, he had to be; he was a god amongst men and that too a defeated one. They had settled and built houses, had started eating fish thanks to the boy who could float on the water for hours in his little wooden creation. Men feared the forests as the scouts of the ivory demons shot wooden sticks with metal heads that could kill elephants. They lived in fear and scarcity, but they had settled. The boy hadn’t, he was still burning inside. He wanted revenge, but he knew he could not face the demons with the resources he currently had. He needed to create an empire and find land that could support them. He would take his boat and wander off for days in search of land for his people.

It was one such day and one such quest that made him the first inhabitant of the great island country Ceylon. There were no people there as all kingdoms of men were at least a thousand years away from building boats. It was the day a timid boy from the trenches became the most fearful, formidable ruler that there was; it was the day Ceylon got its first King. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Prashant Choudhary

MIT, Manipal

 

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