A billion Hindus believe he did and an unbroken tradition of Rama worship has continued for thousands of years in India.Rama is also a hero in Indonesia (despite it being a Muslim country), in Thailand and in several other South East Asian countries.This is perhaps the first instance in modern Indian history that a historical fact was established through scientific methods. So the Mahabharata was true, and since it mentions incidents from the Ramayana, then doesn’t it prove that Rama also existed?
Without the weight of historical tradition and without the stamp of truth, the Ramayana would have been swept by the tidal waves of conquests that swept India.
But there are others who argue that there is no proof Rama lived.
They recorded the 'tithis', days according to the nakshatra on which the moon prevailed, the months, the seasons and even the different solstices. I’m not in the habit of quoting passages I don’t understand but Dr Vartak’s passages illustrate to the reader how dating can be done with sufficient information.
By noting a particular arrangement of the astronomical bodies, which occurs once in many thousand years, the dates of the events can be calculated.” Dr Vartak has taken hundreds of illustrated passages from the epic to establish dates. No guesswork or computer number crunching can come up with these dates.
Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five planets were exalted then; Sun in Mesha up to 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. Events – such as an eclipse, planetary or astral positioning or a comet sighting – mentioned in an epic like the Ramayana may have occurred subsequently or prior.
Over a period of say, 20,000 years, a particular event could have happened a hundred times.Stars shift position too vis-a-vis the earth so the star field we see in the night sky is not what the ancients saw 9000 years ago.This is called precession and has to be factored into all calculations.The Indian government, with its appeasement plank, has even pleaded in court in a case regarding the Sethusamudram Canal that the Ramayana is a myth without any proof.Like I said earlier, when it comes to Hindu matters, it’s open season for everyone.In her History of India, academician Romilla Thapar describes the celebrated Rig-Veda as “primitive animism”, the Mahabharata as the glorification of a “local feud” between two Aryan tribes, the Ramayana as “a description of local conflicts between the agriculturists of the Ganges Valley and the more primitive hunting and food-gathering societies of the Vindhyan region” (sic).