Inspired by and dedicated to

Netra: “Why did Seeta not fight with Ravana and escape from Lanka?”

Neeraj: “Why do we not have a Sitayana but have a Ramayana. After all, Ravana took away Seeta!”

Nandu: Why did Kunti have to abandon Karna. There are lots of Ammas who bring up their children on their own when Appas are not at home or travelling. (Though this is not directly related to Ramayana, the realization that Seeta was a single mother was inspired from here)

And others who have similar questions…

32 thoughts on “Inspired by and dedicated to

  1. Pingback: Inspired by and dedicated to | Seetayana - The Untold Journey

  2. Good work. Enjoyed reading this.. I always enjoy reading Kalki and don’t get bored to read his work more than four or five times. He helps us to visualize each and every scenes and i don’t know how many times i read ponniyin selvan or sivakamiyin sabatham.. I was getting similar feelings when I am reading your work and can’t stop reading this. Could feel the feelings between daughter and a father relationship. Nice work.. Good luck!!!

  3. Very very interesting and thought provoking. Stirs the logical process to explore.

    Can’t wait for more.

  4. It’s thought provoking and am glad that the bachas today have a clear reasoning capability . Way to go Uma , I am sure it’s just the start !!!!

  5. Vibhishan didn’t leave Ravan. He wanted to give his counsel to Ravan. The advice was not liked by Ravan and he ordered Vibhishan to leave Lanka. During those times, it was a common practice for the conquering army to burn the town and indulge in massive killing of the citizens. Vibhishan thought that being with Lord Rama will save the common people of Lanka from the wrath of conquering, in case of victory of Lord Rama. Kumbhkarn also counselled Ravan against fighting Lord Rama. But Kumbhkarn had no choice. Had Vibhishan not been kicked out, he would have fought Lord Rama in battle
    ( theoretical) but such were the traditions of those times that nobody ran away from battle even if defeat was certain. But public perception of Vibhishan is not good as a famous saying tells us.

    • Thank you for your detailed comments Richa. Both Vibhishan and Kumbhkarana had their own reasons for their actions. To me that is the beauty of our mythology. There are more paths than one.

  6. In reply to the question of why Lord Ram killed bali from behind a tree:
    Bali had gone into a cave to fight someone. Didn’t return for 6 months. Sugriv genuinely thought Bali has died. He closed the cave and got the throne. Sugriv was dethroned by Bali who survived and was angry. He usurped Sugriv’s wife. Sugriv took shelter in hills of Kishkinda where a curse precluded the entry of Bali. Hanuman befriended Lord Rama and introduced Sugriv. Lord Rama pitied and also, he needed an army. Bali had a divine blessing that he will get half the strength of whosoever comes to fight him. So Lord Rama chose to launch arrows while Bali was having a challenge fight with Sugriv. He claimed to be helping a friend. On death bed, Bali asked Lord Rama in what capacity he is punishing him as he was far away from Ayodhya. Lord Rama said he is a descendent of King Ikshwaku who ruled the earth. Thus he has a right to punish him for his misdemeanour of taking away wife of his own brother.

  7. The morals of those times were entirely different and can’t be judged by today’s practices. You find cruelty against women in Quaranic teachings and even in Biblical times. Burning the conquered cities with slaughtering of even children and domestic animals is well described. Masses thought it was unbecoming of a King to keep a desecrated ( ? ) woman as a queen. After all, may be they didn’t want to bow before such a woman but will have to if she continues to be a queen.

    • Probably… In fact there is also a conjecture that the whole agnipariksha incident and the subsequent banishment of Seeta are later additions. The story explores a particular “what if”.. ” What if we were to ask Seeta about her journey through her life? How different would be her story?

    • I know the author has already weighed in here but this is an argument that continues to irritate me, when it comes to discussing mythology. There are actually two aspects to this which I will address separately.

      The first one is the point you bring up that morals of those times are entirely different and can’t be judged by today’s practices. Then why are Indian women still supposed to behave like Sita or stay inside the house because it is our culture? Aren’t today’s moral standards different from thousands of years ago? I will not go into further detail but here is a post that explains my viewpoint:

      The second one is with regards to this part of your comment “Masses thought it was unbecoming of a King to keep a desecrated ( ? ) woman as a queen. After all, may be they didn’t want to bow before such a woman but will have to if she continues to be a queen.”

      This is very similar to the victim blaming that happens when a woman is raped in modern India. Rather than condemning the rapist for actually committing the crime, we point fingers at the woman! And in this case, this is the respect that Sita gets from us even though WE know (as the reader) that she is chaste. Remember this question never comes up in the case of Rama!

      So only the Queen has to show herself to be pure but the king doesn’t have to be pure? For my part, I love how the author has explored the feelings of Sita in this aspect as well. At one point she wonders what would have been the reaction from her husband if she had indeed been raped. Would he have abandoned her for no fault of hers? Well, we all know the answer to that question!

      I’m aware that original poster may not see this comment but I hope that other readers who will come across this post later on will gain a different perspective from my reply.

  8. Overall i found your writing very very interesting and it was nice to hear seetaji’s side of the story. These were just some of the clarifications that i thought were needed and some of the unanswered questions that might be boggling the readers’ minds.

  9. This was lovely! I’m sure you must have read Asura by Anand Neelakantan too! It tells Ravana’s side of the story! Or Michael Madhusudhan Dutt’s Meghnad Badh Kavya… This is such a happy phase where we are getting the marginalised narratives into the mainstream. Keep writing! ☺

  10. This is how the Ramayana would be like, if women were actually allowed to have a voice. A Ramayana that lets us view events from the perspective of the 1 person who was most affected by it: Sita.

    Not as an object to be retrieved, not as a moral lesson to all women, not as the means to an end. But a person. With her own views, feelings, perspective, dreams and wishes. I sincerely wish this was the version I grew up with.

    Or as the author puts it, the real Sitayana!

    If I ever had a child, this would be the story I would tell him/her. After all, if even history is written by the winner, why should myths and legends be any different? If no one can verify events from thousands of years ago, maybe this is what really happened.

    In my head, this is how it went.

    Kudos to you Uma! I’ve always been curious about what our epics would be like if the marginalized voices were allowed to speak. If instead of hearing rich, high caste royals talk about their lives, we could hear about events from the perspective of servants forced to abide by their master’s wishes, or the wife who had to compete for her husband’s attention with other women or the common soldier fighting in a war that is nothing more than a family dispute…

    Prizes to anyone who recognizes the above references to Hindu myths! 😉

    • Thank you Shilpa!!! Appreciate the details and your thoughts. I hope our children do get to hear multiple versions of this story and think through the implications rather than blindly following it.

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