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> Also, since you are so sure not a single Southerner thinks Ramayan is a story of North v South
Never said this. Learn to read ffs.
There is a book called Asura: Tale of the vanquished (http://www.amazon.in/Asura-Vanquished-Story-Ravana-People/dp/938157605X) which tries to tell a reinterpret ramayana from the perspective of Ravana. By the way, I have read it. It is much more relevant to the discussion rather than antiquated sources you found which primarily tell about how in the 19th/20th century, various people started their interpretation of Ramayana for political purposes including one where the britishers were the 'red monkeys' and depended primarily on Aryan invasion theory with Rama being Aryan and south Indians being dravidians. AIT is in the dumps.
Given you are asking, most of South Indian Hindus do not believe Ramayana as a war between South and North (I would like to say 80%-90% but I don't believe any one ever did such a survey and it is frankly a waste of time). Major hindu pilgrim places in Andhra Pradesh/Telenagana include Tirupati and Badrachalam.
Ramayana and Mahabharat have been interpreted and retold from many perspectives from Sita, Bheem, Arjun, Eklavya, Karna etc and these have come from various parts of India (mostly from Maharashtra and South India if you are interested and these are just the ones I read). They are fun to read and enrich the story. In fact, the Mahabharat that is played on TV is something that was collated from multiple sources in recent history - 19th century I think. These are great epics with a depth and it is a disgrace that all you could get from these is that Valmiki is racist.
> Ravan was evil
Not in every version of the story. Sample these:
The book <strong>Asura:Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People</strong>, by Anand Neelakantan, also available in Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Italian, which looks at the story from an alternative i.e. Asuras' perspective.
The book was amongst the names of toppers of the 2012 Crossword, says amazon.in. Excerpts from the book-description page:
> The book has aimed to demystify the blunders done by the Deva clan, which is represented as conventional and prejudiced. Also, it throws light on the liberation enjoyed by the Asuras.
> Descriptions about Vamana and Mahabali are given along with the meeting of Jataya and Ravana. Also, described is the Agni Pareeksha underwent by Sita. An unusual angle is shown about the human emotions. A new but logical outlook is thrown at the people in regard to the varied practices that were witnessed in this epic story. Also, the book makes people consider the fact that the Brahmins, back then, followed unreasonable practices.
Ravana worship seems to be common among Gond tribals in Chhattisgarh also; read this story:
> <strong>Ravan is revered in this part of world</strong>, Gond tribals in Gadchiroli, parts of Chhattisgarh offer prayers on Vijayadashmi
Besides, if you are a history/literary buff, read this logical take on Ramayana, from 1910s, titled <strong>'The Morality of the Ramayana' by Mr. T. Ponnambam Pillai</strong>, from the The Tamilian Antiquary 1907-14 archives. It's in English.
Doesn't the book Asura portray a similar POV? I think it's written by an Indian author however.
Wait, that's the premise of Asura a pretty amateur piece of fiction, but nonetheless advocates the same idea.
The book is one amongst the 2012 Crossword toppers, says amazon.in. Excerpts from the book-description page:
> <strong>Celebrating Ravan</strong>: As the rest of the country burns effigies of Ravan, the writer visits a Gond village in Maharashtra where the ten-headed king is worshipped as god, The Hindu, Oct-2015
More on the God Rama, as narrated in Ramayana:
> In the Ramayana, the <strong>Shudra ascetic Shambuka was killed by Lord Rama for performing penances</strong> which were reserved for those of priestly birth, The Hindu, Apr-2016
> They are usually held up to different standards.
Exactly my point.
The Ramayana would read very differently from the PoV of Ravana. The Nazi comparison would only be appropriate. Hanuman is supposed to have burnt the civilians of Lanka alive en masse; the only difference is that he was on the "hero's" side.
Further reading: Asura:Tale of the Vanquished - the story of Ravana and his people