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I really wish you had fought back, Sita devi! I would really have been more proud of you, and maybe the condition of women in our country wouldn't have been so bad.
I really wish you had fought back, Sita devi! I would really have been more proud of you, and maybe the condition of women in our country wouldn’t have been so bad.
“Janaka dulaari, kulvadhu Dashrath ji ki, rajrani hoke din van mein bitati hai,
Rehti thi ghiri jis das-daasiyo se, daasi bani apni udasi ko chupati hai,
Jag matha, Haripriya, Lakshmi swaroopa Siya, koot ti hai dhaan, bhoj swayam banati hai.”
“Janak’s beloved daughter, Dashrath’s daughter in law, married to the crown prince, yet who spent her days in the forests, she who would be surrounded by those who served, but herself became one of those, hiding her sadness, mother of the worlds, beloved of Hari, Sita the incarnate of Lakshmi, was labouring in the kitchen.”
I am sure you must have heard these lines, if not 20 years back, then recently during the lockdown when Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana was re-telecast on TV.
Every time I heard these lines I thought – why did a Princess accept all that? Why was she, a reincarnation of Goddess Lakshmi herself kidnapped, insulted, and kept away from her family for so long and she suffered rather than fighting back? Why did she wait for her husband to rescue her, why did she not kill Ravana herself?
Why after suffering through everything, was she thrown out without any help, even though she was pregnant? Why did everyone call them the most perfect couple; when they suffered a lot at the hands of the people they did everything for?
Why did King Janaka not look for his daughter? Why did he have to wait until her husband looked for her, or forgive her, or even worse wait for the idiots that caused her separation with her husband to approve the request to look for Sita? Does the father not care for his daughter just because he did the ritual of kanyadaan?
How do I call them the ideal couple when they were never together? They promoted patriarchy, an innocent woman was punished for deeds she was no way responsible for and educated men and women, her own family, all the kings supported the people of Ayodhya to pacify them, leaving the pregnant Sita alone to suffer and survive.
Sita devi, what you did no woman or man can do, but I wish you hadn’t accepted that. Today women are degraded, tortured and even murdered because men consider it their right to question a woman’s character. I really wish you had fought back, I would really have been more proud of you, and maybe the condition of women in our country wouldn’t have been so bad.
In being the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter-in-law, the perfect sister-in-law, the perfect Queen, you gave our patriarchal society another reason to inflate their ego and feel good about their entitled selves. This so-called society who didn’t even leave the Goddess incarnation from their patriarchal abuse; why would they let a normal human being be?
I really have so many questions but the one that keeps coming up every time is knowing that women were treated so badly in this country – you had two sons, so you left them with their father, but if they were two daughters, would you leave them to suffer the same fate as you? Why have you let your cultural daughters, the women of India, suffer so?
People say they love their daughters, respect their wives, mothers, in-laws but the truth is that in millions of our homes, the woman is still in the same situation as Sita. She never knows when she will be thrown out of her husband’s house, never knows when she will be insulted, never knows when she would be degraded. And the worst part is that many times, women too play a role in all this mess.
Image source: a still from Sita Sings The Blues
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