Bisrakh (Greater Noida): His effigy may burn in thousands across India, but Ravana is revered in this Uttar Pradesh village where residents believe the Lanka king was born.
It is not that Bisrakh's men and women do not worship Lord Rama. They do. But they refuse to burn Ravana in effigy.
Dushyant Nagar, a local resident and social activist, explained why.
"Our Ravana is not a woman's kidnapper. Our Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. So we never burn his effigy," Nagar said.
"It is not that Bisrakh does not follow Ram. But since Ravana was born here and was born to Kekasi and a great saint of that time, Vishrava, Ravana is seen as a great saint before he left Bisrakh."
Ravana reportedly left Bisrakh to go to the Himalayas where his deep and long meditation pleased Lord Shiva.
With Shiva's blessings, so goes the story, Ravana conquered Lanka from his half brother Kubera.
The rest, as they say, is history -- how Ravana abducted Lord Rama's wife Sita and how Rama killed Ravana after a fierce battle.
"Ravana's past in Bisrakh was very glorious. He was a devotee of Shiva since his birth, and it was Shiva's blessing that enabled him to conquer Lanka," Nagar said.
"So Bisrakh's residents consider Ravana a great saint," he added.
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