Analysis of Sita - Warrior of Mithila

Ramayana and Mahabharata, to many, are not epic fictions but holy books! So much holy, that some in their blind faith go on to the extreme extent of distorting geographical locations to suit the written words of those fictions. So much holy to some, that decades of politics has been played on the peculiar nuances of those holier than thou texts.

In the midst of such lame conundrums created off the mythological books, Mr. Amish Tripathi has dared to weave fictions out of the fictitious, although respectable, religious sagas of Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu religion.

That the books have not faced the anger of saffron adorned bhakts talks a lot about the intelligence of Mr. Tripathi with which he has handled the stories using kid gloves. His latest book on the Ram chandra series, Sita warrior of Mithila, has not disappointed the religious pandits a bit, it seems.

It would not be fair on my part to expect a Salman Rushdie style fiction from Amish Tripathi. Not everyone wants to be a Rushdie nor desires to face the consequences of being a Rushdie. In spite of that, I would not say that I hated his latest edition. I enjoyed the novel thoroughly, so much that I have decided to review the novel through various themes that have been presented in the book.

Masculine vs Feminine system: The entire book has the backbone of this theme. What should be the correct way of living a life? The yin or the yang?; the masculine or the feminine? The dictatorial or the liberal?
The important characters, Ram and Bharat are shown to have a conflicting view on this. While Ram is of the belief that nothing should be above law , Bharat takes a liberal view towards life. While masculine way of living stems crime and brings order and security, feminine way of lifestyle brings freedom , creativity, inventions and a sense of well being.The entire nation in the book is shown to be facing several serious issues because of the feminine way of governance. By giving too much freedom to the citizen, the crime rate had increased to manifolds, it has brought in disparity in the distribution of wealth and has weakened the unity of the people.Ram, hence, believes that a strict law abiding way of life would bring in the uniformity in the chaos, would unite the people and would create a sense of nationalism among the citizens!

Caste system and agitations: A society moves towards imbalance when people are not free to live in alignment with their true attributes. The caste system creates this imbalance when people are forced to live in a karma governed by the birth rather than by aptitude. What happens when a brahmin who lacks the ability to read and understand, practise teaching or when a kshatriya cannot wield a sword against an enemy because of the lack of natural aptitude? It brings frustration and agitation from within. Collectively, it weakens the society and allows crime to set in
!
Guru Vishwamitra, in the book, is shown to have a remedy to this oppressive system which later on would be taken by Sita and Ram. But more of it is presented in a better way in the book.

Women empowerment: Most of the characters are shown to be of the firm opinion that women can carry out the same tasks as any man. Sita is shown to be a warrior rather than a damsel in distress thus changing the entire plot of Ramayana in a pleasant way.

Equality: A gap between the rich and the poor is shown to cause discord in the society. But when the same gap is reduced, it results in the rise in aspirations of both the rich and the poor, thus widening the gap further.There are certain incidents in the book where it is shown how being poor or rich doesn't change the innate nature and that cruelty and nobility can exist in both the strata of a society.
Can true equality be achieved in a society? People differ in skills. A writer can only use pen and not sword. Treating a writer equal to a swordsman might take away the sense of uniqueness and pride which might bring in a greater chaos.

Science and technology: This is the only theme in Amish's books that makes me glued to  his works. The author makes sure that the readers understand that there isn't any kind of magic going on in the story. 
That there is some sort of scientific explanation behind powerful arrows, behind brahmastra, behind flying chariots, behind disfigured bodies of some gods and behind longevity of gods and goddesses, makes a reader not run away from mythology of Hindu religion.
Although the characters and major plots in the novel remain the same with the original Ramayana, it is the flexibility in the sub plots and additional fictional characters which makes the book worth a read. The creativity and rich imagination of the author is commendable.
The book however extensively use modern terminologies with a mix of archaic words, which makes the mythological ecosystem of the book sometimes difficult to believe in. Later chapters in the book are a mere extension of the previous book with exact same words and sentences with a minor slanted sentences to show Sita's inner thoughts during those scenes. This makes the hyperlinked narrative structure of the book a bit too much stretched.

The book, overall, is an enjoyable read. 

My rating: 7/10.

Comments

  1. Now a days i am listening a lot about this book, your review has attracted me more towards it, will read it very soon.

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    1. Do have a read. You won't be disappointed.

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  2. Not much has changed since Ramayana, has it? A resounding support for the masculine that's busy taming its subjects by wielding the stick of nationalism.

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    1. Delighted that you have caught the subtle comparison with our contemporary situation.
      I agree that a strict masculine way is never a solution to a united nation. Freedom gives a nation a natural feedback system where dissent is accepted and eventually corrected .

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  3. Purba has said it all :) Nothing's quite changed!

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    1. Most of the issues that we face now are the consequences of various holy books!

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  4. That's quite a detailed thematic review. Our great epics can inspire so many stories.

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    1. Your recommendation of the book Bhimsen is on my list. Have finally found an English translation to it.

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  5. That's a detailed article with personalized review of the book. The author has decoded each aspect with am inquisitive approach.We all know about Indian epics and mythology but do not connect it in the ground level. Great attempt :)

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    1. Yes. At that aspect, the author has done a remarkable job. The epics do not attempt to describe the gods as anything but gods:) Also, I have always found the magical things in those epics quite unbelievable! Thanks Snigdha for having your presence here.

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  6. Nicely written review... I hv read The Mahadev triology by Amish and had pretty impressed abt that...
    But I did disappointed with first book of Ramayana series i.e. Scion of Ikshvaku... Many of unimportant characters and content hv been added to the same... Now will read Sita...

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    1. The author has written the series in a narrative style which he calls as a hyperlink way of narration. Some of the additional characters and plots would hence make a complete sense after the completion of the entire series when all the events associated with the characters would converge to a common point.
      But I can understand why some would not like the book that much.

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