Kusum Choppra: A FREE NEW SITA: Can you imagine a Sita who welcomes freedom from the hidebound environs of Raghukul that forest sojourns offer?
Continuing the recent tradition of looking at the past through new prisms comes Devdutt Patnaik’s “Sita” that retells the Ramayan to delineate this new SITA.
Picking from the Valmiki and Tulsi Ramayans, Plus scores of others riddling every nook and corner of India and all the South East Asian Ramayans surviving millennia, Patnaik conjures up a truly free spirited Sita, quite, quite different from the weepy Sita mold countless generations of women have had to cope with since Time Immemorial.
Born off the furrow, taught by the numerous learned persons who partook of her father Janak’s hospitality, Sita’s learning is stunted by the rules that rule in Ayodhya.
Still a virgin, she is quick to insist on accompanying the rule-obedient Ram into exile, that offers a new learning curve, never mind the celibate ascetic she call her husband.
In his own inimitable style, Patnaik draws from far and wide, annotating copiously to draw a surprisingly linear eventful story, striving to justify the stilted Ram while celebrating his new Sita.