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In this episode of Truth Bombs, Anju Jayaram of Women’s Web meets Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, noted Author and one of the most popular re-tellers of Indian mythology. Chitra is currently in India for the launch of her latest book Forest Of Enchantments.
An award-winning writer, activist, and poet, Palace Of Illusions, Sister Of My Heart, and Arranged Marriage are some Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s best-selling novels. Two of her novels, The Mistress Of Spices and Sister Of My Heart were adapted into films.
In this episode, Chitra talks about Indian Goddesses, and how she loves the multiplicity of them that we have. “Indian women as an extension of goddesses, should also don’t have to be one thing,” says Chitra. Under-explored characters from Indian mythology whom she would love to write about are Sita’s sister Urmila, as well as Mandodari, the Chief Queen of Ravana.
“If I were to explore another character, it would be somebody from the Ramayana Maybe like Sita’s sister Urmila; she has been neglected in the original Ramayan, she has been left behind for 14 years. Another very interesting character is Mandodari, Ravana’s wife. Her own life is quite interesting, How she got married to Ravan against her parents’ will, how she fell in love with him, but then saw him becoming obsessed with another woman.
There are a lot of stories about Mandodari! In one version in the Adbhuta Ramayana, she is actually Sita’s real mother. When Sita’s is born, there is a prophecy that she will cause the destruction of her father, so she has to be sent away. There are so many interesting stories like this, these women are very complex!” “May you be like Sita” is a common blessing in India, but in this episode of Truth Bombs, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni tells us why this blessing used to irk her. Sita is the world’s first single parent but misinterpretation of the original texts have reduced Sita to a person who needs to be rescued! We have to look at the original texts to know who Sita really was. With interesting rapid fire questions, they wind up the show! Stay tuned for more episodes and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel!
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