kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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Retelling the Ramayana

Posted on by Imran

The first two poems in this series, Princess in exile and Random Access Man tell the story of Sita from a feminist perspective. Rightwing narratives of the Ramayana, portray her as the ideal, obedient wife whom all women must seek to emulate. Reading between the lines of the epic, one realizes that she is in fact the first woman to literally “Step across the line.” She not only crosses the Lakshman Rekha (a Line of Control that she was asked not to leave), but she also chats up with a stranger, the King Ravan in disguise. When her husband and his brother return, she is no longer home. Sita is reunited with Ram after a massive war is waged to win her back. In the epic, it is said that she was abducted. I try and imagine a scenario where she might have walked out of her own free will. When Sita exercises her civil rights—her freedom of speech and her freedom of movement—I exercise my freedom of expression. In the third and final poem, Traitress, I look at the Ramayana from the perspective of another victimized woman, Shoorpanaka. She is Ravan’s sister, and she has her ears, nose and breasts cut off when she proposes to Ram and his brother Laxman, whom she meets in the forest. In the traditional narrative, Ram’s fidelity to his wife is upheld and he gets cast as a superhero in spite of (or … Continue reading

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