Uthaya Sankar SB wrote an interesting article about the Ramayana in Free Malaysia Today titled Ramayana: Valmiki vs Hanuman, and in Bahasa too.
I enjoyed reading it but I need to correct him on one point, to wit, the 2nd of the following 2 paragraphs:
Sesungguhnya, Ramayana adalah epik India yang tersebar luas ke seluruh dunia, khususnya sebagai tindak balas terhadap penyebaran agama Buddha secara meluas semasa pemerintahan Asoka di India.
Apa yang menarik, penganut ajaran Buddha pula membuat sedikit pengubah suaian dan mengatakan bahawa Rama adalah inkarnasi Siddharta Gautama Buddha.
Uthaya Sankar has been completely incorrect in the above 2nd paragraph, that Buddhists claimed Rama was a reincarnation of the Buddha. One only needs to read numerous credible books on this issue and find it’s actually the other way around, of Hindus claiming that Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu (born as mortal Rama to destroy Ravana).
Besides, Buddhists have never associated nor linked their religious beliefs with/to Hinduism, whether of the Ramayana, Mahabharata or whatever version - Buddhist beliefs do not ever place reliance on God or Gods, as Hinduism does.
At that time, Buddhism was sweeping India (as aknowledged by Uthaya Sankar) where multitudes of Hindus were converting across to a caste-less, gentle and compassionate religion, as they would centuries later to an also caste-less Islam.
The Hindu clerics were sh*t scared (not unlike UMNO leaders today, wakakaka) of a tired but very caste-conscious Hinduism losing most of its adherents, so they preached falsely that Buddha was only an avatar of Vishnu, implying Hinduism still was THE only religion and Buddhism only a subset of it. And they succeeded in stemming the tide of Buddhist convertees.