While we made Controversies, Indonesia and Thailand actually preserved our Heritage! While generations in India have believed in a legacy named Ramayana as a part of our ancestral heritage, there have been ugly controversies in the recent past about its authenticity. It is in fact, a shameful thing that we have questioned what was believed and accepted as our own heritage, regardless of presence/absence of evidence for its occurrence. While Hindutva is preached and accepted as a ‘way of life’, things couldn’t go more wrong than us questioning its origins and legacies.
However, there is one country where Hindutva withholds its influence even after the country underwent a religious metamorphosis. Hinduism was a dominant religion in a number of Asian countries other than India and apparently is remembered and respected the same way by a little country named Indonesia. The country has brought forth a series of national stamps that themed over scenarios drawn from Ramayana, depicting the respect they hold for the mythology even to this day. It is indeed an example for India, the key follower of Ramayana, to comprehend the necessity to respect the heritage as it was; without questioning its authenticity.
Here are 29 stamps from Indonesia and Thailand that centre on Ramayana. Each one has a different story to tell, reminding us yet again of our own rich heritage that we tried to sideline.
1. A stamp issued in 2016, depicting the glorious occasion when Lord Hanuman brought down Lanka to a mere heap of ashes.
2. Lord Rama and his miraculous bow that never missed a target – depicted on a stamp issued in 1962, themed for Asian Games. An exceptionally creative mascot for target oriented events for sure!
3. Yet another stamp issued in 1962, where a culturally different image of Lord Rama has been portrayed.
4. Goddess Sita, in her ever charming and divine form.
5. Yet another intense depiction of Lord Hanuman in his naturally fierce form.
6. Jatayu on an Indonesian stamp, the heroic bird that sacrificed himself attempting to rescue Devi Sita from Ravana’s hold.
7. Of course, name the devil and he’s here. Ravana himself – a hero for some and a monster for rest!
8. A rare depiction of Mareecha (who disguised himself as the golden deer to distract Rama), who is also referred to as ‘KidangKentjana’ in Indonesian dialect.
9. Indonesia hosts ‘Ramayana International Festival’, in occasion of which this stamp was issued in 1971.
And it isn’t just Indonesia; Thailand too has launched a series of stamps based on Ramayana! Here are a few of them –
1. Below is a stamp issued in 1996, where the scene of Rama chasing the golden deer is depicted. This event was followed by the abduction of Sita.
2. A beautiful version of Ramayana depicted in Thai culture. This is a sequence where Lord Rama meets Devi Sita, and the stamp was issued in 2005 in Thailand.
3. Also themed in Thai cultural aspects, this stamp portrays the glorious clash of Rama and Ravana.
4. This 1981 stamp is a messenger of both Ramayana and its acceptance in Thai culture. This is a mask of Meghnad, which was worn by artists performing his role in traditional Thai dance dramas. The mask is called ‘Khon’ mask.
5. A part of the legacy is also that Lord Hanuman once protected Lord Rama in his mouth. The below stamp issued in 2015 depict this scenario.
6. Ravana’s luxurious ways of life has been drawn out in the below stamp issued way back in 1973.
7. An aerial depiction of Ashoka Vatica.
8. The intense phase of Ramayana where the ‘Vanara sene’ crosses the Indian Ocean to reach Lanka.
Here are a few stamps issued in Laos-
1. 1969, a stamp depicting the duel between Jatayu and Ravana, while he abducted Sita in his flying chariot.
2. Here is a rare and untold part of Ramayana where Lord Hanuman battles Matsya, who later fell in love with him!
3. The below stamp was issued in 2006, where we can see the sculpture of Hanuman and Matsya at the Xieng Khouane Buddha Park.
4. The below stamp draws the scenario where Angada, Meghnad’d half-brother, received his head in a cup. The stamp was issued in 1970.
5. The intense Agni Pareeksha faced by Devi Sita. This stamp was brought out in 1969.
6. Yet another depiction of Lord Rama and Devi Sita in a stamp issued way back in 1955!
7. A 2004 stamp can be seen depicting the part where Lord Rama killed Bali.
Stamps from Cambodia:
1. The twin sons of Lord Rama practicing archery has been drawn on the stamp issued in 2006.
2. Even Cambodia has a stamp depicting Lord Hanuman and Matsya!
3. Yet again the same, in a stamp issued in 2001.
4. Actors playing the roles of Lord Rama and Devi Sita in a ballet performance.
5. Here is a stamp from 2006 where the lead characters of the mythology are pictured yet again.
6. Also, here is a rare depiction of Lord Rama protecting Devi Sita at Ashoka Vatica, in a stamp issued in 1993 at Grenada!
7. Here is a Balinese painting inspired stamp that represents the duo. The stamp is from Czech Republic, issued in 2009!
Well, India needs modern documentations of our own heritages this way. Indonesia and Thailand set positive examples of how a culture must be respected and not questioned for a trail; something we can borrow!
Stamps were taken from www.stampboards.com