Thursday, October 15, 2015

Images of Sri Rama and Hanuma found in Iraq- Is it a hoax or truth?

It was almost six months ago that on the Facebook wall of a Kannada friend I came across with the following photograph of an ancient stone relief claiming to be of Sri Rama and Hanuma. That posting stated that the dominant male figure of the relief is that of Sri Rama and the figurine kneeled before the standing figurine is that of Hanuman.

I was greatly amused to see this image and the comment that attempted to connect it with the Ramayana. But the amateur explorer in me instigated to undertake a brief research for factual accuracy of this. So, I went on a journey of knowing the historical details of this image.

After considerable search on net, I came across with the profile of one Mr. Osama S.M. Amin FRCP who has uploaded around 28 photographs of this stone relief and also has given its exact location (on the cliff of mountain Darbadi Belula, Hori w Shekhan area, Sulaimaniya, near Iranian border, Iraq), genre (Akkadian) and its antiquity (Circa 2100 BC)

Based on these vital inputs, I have furthered my study and understood that there was indeed an Akkadian Empire and civilization that flourished for about 300 years in 3rd millennia BCE. This being a brief write-up I will not be narrating Akkadian history as the same can be found on net.

My interest is in explaining why this image can’t be ascribed to Rama as claimed by some websites. Hereunder is my brief account:

First let us take a closer look at the entire stone relief and identify the figurines carved therein:

 So, as told in the posting of my FB friend, this stone relief does not have two persons but three images. If Fig 1 is Rama and Fig 2 is Hanuma who is that shown in Fig 3? This must be explained by the people/websites claiming this to be a Hindu art.

Even if I assume that the Fig 3 is either Ravana or Kumbhakarna or any other demon, are those two figurines resemble the traditional iconography of Rama and Hanuma? Let us see!

These are the close-up shot and full size image of the kneeling figurine (Fig 2) claimed to be of Hanuman:

Undoubtedly, the kneeling pose resembles that of Hanuma in Dasabhava but this image is certainly missing the unique iconic details of Hanuma such as the long tail, the club (Gada) and more importantly the monkey face with swollen jaws. Also, this figurine is not showing the ornamentation that is generally carved on Hanuman images such as the crown, earrings and the anklet on the left leg.

Hence it is an unlikely proposition to infer this Fig 2 as Hanuman. It must be a figurine of a king defeated by an Akkadian king and has been shown as “begging for life” that gets translated as the victory of the Akkadian king over the latter.

If the above figurine has to be called as Hanuma it should have all or the major insignia of Hanuman. Therefore, it is a puzzle as to how the propagandists are promoting this as Hanuman?

Now let us turn towards that prominent male figurine and see:

There is no doubt that the person is holding a bow in left hand and standing in a gracious standing pose of a victor. Can the bow alone make this image as that of Sri Rama? I don’t believe so and hence let us have a closer look at the features of this figurine other than its bow:

Here we can see that the quiver is placed right behind the figurine as if on the ground and in the waistband a battle axe can be seen while the left hand is holding a dagger in an attacking or thrusting pose.

In the typical iconographic representations of Sri Rama he is shown with a bow and a single arrow but never shown with a dagger and battle axe. Also, in typical representation of Rama, the quiver is shown as tied and projected above his right shoulder’s back. But the above figurine is missing all these iconographic details barring the bow.

The other two major insignia that are missing are (1) sacred thread (Yagnopaveetam) and (2) matted hairdo (Jata Makuta) in which the former affirms his Kshatriya origin and the latter stands for the attire (Muni vesha) assumed by him during his exile.

Apart from all these, the most important aspect that should not be ignored is the inscription written in Akkadian script which can be seen right behind the kneeling figurine.

As part of my search I could not trace a translation of this inscription on net. I have asked Mr. Osama S.M. Amin FRPC to give the English translation. I have posted my request on his Flickr profile which is yet to be answered.

Once the contents of this inscription are known we can zero-in on the persons shown on the relief. I am sure that the inscription is not talking about Rama or Hanuma but must be saying something about an Akkadian king who emerged victorious against a certain other opponent of him.

Therefore, it is my sincere advice to the propagandists is that they must refrain from insulting the intelligence of Hindus by spreading unconfirmed and fake information in the garb of Hindu nationalism. Indians are not duds in knowing and understanding the history of not their country alone but of the world as well. Ill-fetched acts such as this shall damage the reputation and erudition of Sanatana Dharma let alone propagating it as a true and sincere way of life.

||Jai Sriram||