A few days ago, I was reading the reaction of Veronica Lario to the ‘roving eyes’ of her husband Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy. I searched the internet for a bit more of details regarding the background and came across the stories linking Mara Carfagna with the Prime Minister of Italy and the painting made by Filippo Panesca. depicting Berlusconi as an almost naked angel in company of bare-bodied Mara C. (http://www.artknowledgenews.com/files2009a/Panseca_Berlusconi_with_wings.jpg)
Veronica Lario now retaliated by having a painting of her, similarly clothed, in an exhibition and the Internet……she too appears as a beautiful angel. (http://www.galloimmenso.com/images/blog/lario_quadro.jpg)
The matter did not end there. Veronica will very likely divorce her husband,19 years her senior , since she has run out of patience with Berlusconi’s ways with beautiful women, whom she calls ‘the emperor’.
Yet, Berlusconi is very popular in his country as well among the neighbouring states because of his capability and charisma, which is aided by his ‘high libido’. Our society and history have idolized Rulers and Kings who had insatiable thirst for expansion and at the same time, kept a large harem engaged. We do not have emperors any more, but, we have our John F Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Berlusconi.
History has not been kind to one such King, whose testosterone level was his nemesis. He is Ravana , a King who was learned, a good ruler, well-respected by his subjects and possessed excellent military skill. As we find from the laments of his wives and other women whom he brought into his bed and his palace, after his fall at the hand of Ram , he was loved by his women. Among the major negatives of his character, his uncontrollable sexual urge was the single largest cause of his and his regime’s downfall.
In a way, Valmiki Ramayana and many other version of this epic story have not been fair to this great King. His positives have been mentioned in passing while his negatives have been highlighted. But, there are others in South India, Michael Madhusudan in Bengal and presently several historians/Internet communities in
, who have viewed and portrayed King Ravana in positive light. I am not aware if anyone doubted about his over-active libido. Sri Lanka
Had he remained satisfied with the women he married and later on ‘conquered’, his life would have been different. But, he raped Vedabati and forcibly took the paramour of his step-brother Kuber’s son to his bed ( strictly speaking, this is not incest, but, very nearly so). I found there is at least one more high-profile woman’s rape and complaint have been recorded in the chronicle. There must have been many more ! Finally, his death came because he abducted Sita , a woman whose beauty and sexual attraction kept his mind engaged for months while the consequent string of tragic events devastated his family and regime.
Someday, a poet , as great and capable as Michael Madhusaudan, will write a ballad on Ravana’s fatal attraction for Sita.