ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Myth and Life

Eminent social scientist K N Panikkar has in a recent issue of Frontline made a distinction between myth and historical reality while discussing the controversy over the Ramsetu. While he denies that mythical events and characters are historical realities, he argues that myths allude to reality and are therefore important to human life. GPD in an interesting note (September 29) takes left-liberal intellectuals to task for going hammer and tongs at the claim that Rama was a historical figure. He believes that it is a wrong and dangerous way of advocating modernity by alienating oneself from the masses.

The sophisticated as against the vulgar left-liberal intellectuals seem to believe that (1) the left-liberals are in danger of alienating themselves from the masses by denying the “reality” of their beliefs, and (2) the myth of Rama has another dimension of reality and should not be trifled with. The argument is associated with the notion that the transition from tradition to modernity should be negotiated painlessly without ruffling anyone’s feathers. It is difficult to understand why, as it has not been painless anywhere.

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