Sita – Warrior of Mithila by Amish
Here, finally, is the story of Sita for which I (among, no doubt, a whole raft of feminists) have yearned. Although I enjoyed Amish’s Siva stories, he seemed to have taken on a far more difficult task with his Ram Chandra series. How, I had wondered, was he going to handle the story of a prince so high-minded and dutiful that he does things totally inimical to the modern sensibility. Even more challenging would be the story of Sita who willingly follows her husband into exile and then, after being kidnapped by Raavan, accepts rejection by her husband on her return.
We don’t get her entire story just yet as Amish has planned a series of four ‘hyperlinked’ multi-linear narratives telling separately the stories of Ram, Sita, and Raavan from their individual births up to the kidnap. The fourth book in the series will, presumably, finally knit these three strands together by way of a denouement.
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While the essential story would be familiar to most Indians, I am very pleased to say that Amish gives us a Sita far removed from the demure, duty-bound creature of numerous syrupy text and screen versions, far removed it has to be said from Valmiki’s original story which depicted both Ram and Sita in far more nuanced and human fashion.
This book “SITA Warrior of Mithila” is a beautiful read and you can find the book review here at GoodReads.com
In this book, we first see Sita as a tiny foundling being guarded by a vulture and discovered by the King and Queen of Mithila who rescue her and then bring her up as their daughter. Sita grows into a young warrior whose talent and potential is recognised by Guru Vishwamitra early on. It is his idea to groom her into becoming the ‘Vishnu’ whose duty it will be to lead the country’s dharma. As her future husband Ram is also being trained to take on the title of Vishnu by Vishwamitra’s rival Guru Vashishta, one wonders how Amish will reconcile such narrative difficulties and also manage to get the pair married off happily. After having written a historical fiction on Rani Lakshmibai, I am well aware of the difficulties in telling a story already well known. However, many successful mythological books down the line, Amish is by now clearly past-master at potentially problematic plot niggles.
Credit Source: The Times of India