Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Sita: A Misconception

You'd think that the book is from Sita's perspective but it is not.

Like every other girl in India I did not like Ramayana for the same reason that Ram abandons Sita on the account of being a righteous King. I was prepared to give only three stars to this book no matter what as I have been told and retold of this epic a million times so far. But this book by Devdutt opened my mind's eye to a lot of significant roles played by Ram. But that still doesn't mean I will disregard Sita's abandonment.

I liked Lakshman's character more than Ram's during their exile. When Ram was exiled from his own country, Lakshman was determined to go with him. Urmila's loyalty in helping out Lakshman by sleeping for fourteen years was mind-striking. Ram often snapped at lakshman. Like when Lakshman questioned about a tigress killing deer or when Surpanakha was infatuated to Ram, he rejected her, directed her to Lakshman which was totally unacceptable and uncalled for. Lakshman respected Ram ultimately but Ram was always snide with him. He didn't even respect his brother's fidelity when he sent Surpanakha to ask Lakshman. Ram was always condescending and stoic with Lakshman even though Lakshman was very humble and down to earth and obeyed his brother's orders to the letter.

Sita's love and sincerity to keep up her duties as a wife even during the hard times shows the moral values that were/are bestowed and beheld by Indian women.

Hanuman's character is timeless and pierced through the hearts of millions. He who loved Sita's Ram and Ram's Sita will forever be worshiped.

There is more to Ramayana than is narrated during bed times. Viradha was killed for touching Sita. Surpanakha is maimed for attacking Sita as a result of jealousy. Why is viradha's killing forgotten? It is unethical when a woman desires for a married man but it is ignored when a man wants a married woman? In all the stories and epics, only a woman's chastity is highlighted and blown up. But a man who is supposed to be a celibate or a sage who renounced the earthly possessions wavers for a moment, he is not judged or punished. He is not even remembered for his notorious behaviour. This sort of virtue is still considered though no one knows who set the rules.

She wanted the gold deer and ended up dropping her gold ornaments that adorned her body, for a trail. Epic has its ironic way of bringing its concept to people. I was not shocked when the self-righteous Ram wanted to liberate Sita after rescuing her from Ravana. But I was shocked when he said "But for me, there will be only Sita", when Luv and Kush got furious on learning Sita's abandonment. Now that's where Devdutt earned his fourth star for the otherwise three-star book!

Anagrammatic, Sita and Sati are incarnations of the same deity, Shakthi. They share the same integrity, they love their husband unconditionally and they are both brave and radical. All anger on Ram aside, I was touched by his ekapathni-vrath and his undeterred love for Sita and his loyalty to Ragu Clan and his kingdom. He is the ideal ruler that every king after him looked up to, he is the best one-woman man that every woman should yearn for but the combination of both has certainly made him infamous in one way or the other.