kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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The Foundling Princess of Mithila: KR Srinivasa Iyengar’s Sitayana

Posted on by Imran

Ahana Lakshmi talks about her grandfather, K R Srinivasa Iyengar’s wonderful book Sitayana… Sitayah Charitham Mahat. The Glorious Tale of Sita. The story of Sita and Rama has been told and retold many times by many people in many forms since it was created. Over the centuries, creative writers have struggled to project Sita in all her purity and nobility and maternal love. The more they write, the more there is to be said. She is one of us, contemporaneous because her story is our story too. The outline of the story is simple. Sita, a babe discovered by a childless king while wielding a plough as part of a ritual, was eventually married to the god-like prince Rama. The prince was exiled and she followed him into the forest where she was kidnapped by a rakshasa and taken away to his country. She was imprisoned there and finally set free by her husband and his army, but had to undergo an ordeal through fire before she was accepted by her husband. They returned victorious to their country and were crowned king and queen. That, unfortunately, was not the end of the story. Pregnant now, she was exiled by her husband, the king, on the strength of mere rumours, thus facing a second terrible rejection, and finally withdrew to Mother Earth from whence she had emerged.  While there are points of jubilation, the sojourn as a captive and her days at … Continue reading

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SITA’S LETTERS

Posted on by Imran

This letter is to the beloved consort of Mithila’s Lord Janaka from Sita Devi of Ayodhya. I, SITA, prostrate prayerfully before Amma with a submission. All is well here, and hope it is so with you too. The people and the chariot you sent have arrived. The messengers told us that you have instructed us to come to Mithila for Deepavali. Considering the state of affairs here, I am sure you will understand that it will be difficult for us to visit you now. My father-in-law is always at Mandavi’s mother-in-law, Kaikeyi’s house. My mother-in-law is furious. She conceals it well though, and is engrossed in prayer and serving food to Brahmins. I have to get up early in the morning, bathe and help her with chores. Work fills the day. There is not a moment’s rest. As soon as the wedding ceremonies were over, my brother-in-law Bharathan was taken away by his uncle. You know Shatrugnan, he always tails his elder-brother. Only after they return, can we seek permission for the journey, and after all that, I don’t know if we will be able to reach Mithila before Deepavali. I have great doubts about the whole thing. After thinking it over, your son-in-law has decided that it is best we spend Deepavali in Ayodhya itself. Father will soon receive a letter about this from my father-in-law. Do send the gift of silks to us. Your son-in-law likes only yellow … Continue reading

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