Bengaluru: There is a new found interest in King Ravana in Sri Lanka. As per mythology, Ravana, the villain of great Hindu epic Ramayana, was the ruler of Sri Lanka during Lord Rama’s time. He may be a demon for the Hindus in India, but he is certainly an enigma, a great king and a pioneering aviator for many Sri Lankans.
The Sri Lankan government has issued an advertisement asking people to share any documents they have about Ravana. The newspaper advertisement, issued by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, requests people to share any documents or books they may have related to King Ravana in order to help the government conduct an ambitious, in-depth research on the mythological king and the lost heritage of island nation’s aviation dominance.
The Sri Lankan government believes that Ravana was the first aviator in the world and flew over 5,000 years ago and the country’s Civil Aviation Authority has now launched an initiative to understand the methods used by him to fly in ancient times.
Speaking to News18 over telephone from Colombo, Civil Aviation Authority former vice-chairman Shashi Danatunge said they had irrefutable facts to prove that Ravana was the pioneer and the first to fly using an aircraft.
“King Ravana was a genius. He was the first person to fly. He was an aviator. This is not mythology; it’s a fact. There needs to be a detailed research on this. In the next five years, we will prove this,” he said.
Last year a conference of civil aviation experts, historians, archaeologists, scientists and geologists was held at Katunayake, where Sri Lanka's biggest international airport Bandaranaike is located.
The conference had concluded that Ravana first flew from Sri Lanka to today's India 5,000 years ago and came back. However, many dismissed the stories that Ravana had kidnapped Lord Rama's wife Sita, claiming that it was an Indian version, and Ravana was a noble king.
There is renewed interest about the ancient Lanka king in Sri Lanka these days. Sri Lanka has recently sent a satellite called Raavana to outer space in the first space mission.
Many in Sri Lanka believe that Ravana was a benevolent king and a scholar. Some Indian scriptures also describe him as "Maha Brahmana", which means a great Brahmin or a great scholar.