3/21/06

Sitayana...

If you still havent understood the nature of this post from the blatantly obvious title, I suggest you stop right now, and desist from reading this post any further.
But then again its upto you, O' omnipotent reader.

As a kid, I always hated the Ramayana. I really did. Apart from being arduously boring, it was a laboriously contrived crying-fest from start to finish, or so my 7-year old psyche led me to believe.
But as I grew older, I slowly began to develop a less flippant attitude towards the Ramayana.
Somehow, the nuances in each character began to intrigue me, and Sita in particular piqued my budding interest even further.

Now Sita has forever been represented as an epitome of inhuman virtuousness, wasting away a lifetime of devotion and service to her husband, only to be publicly maligned and exiled by Rama in the name of 'the greater good'. The 'greater good' being a pathetic dhobi and his miserable wife, doing what poverty stricken people usually do to entertain themselves: indulge in malicious gossip (not that people from the higher echelons of society are seraphic angels, but I'm trying to drive a point here). So, their untoward remarks irked Rama to such an extent that he convinced himself that the whole kingdom of Ayodhya was talking about her, and seeds of dissent planted itself in his mind and he ludicrously decided to banish her while she was heavily pregnant with his children, to boot.

And note: Sita had to go through the 'Agnipariksha' right after returning from exile. The above-mentioned incident happened after Sita passed through the Agnipariksha unscathed and Rama and Sita had been ruling Ayodhya as king and queen for a while. So Rama constantly had bouts of extreme insecurity with respect to Sita's character.

So much for the 'ideal' man.

I may be digressing here, but if you wish to argue on the accuracy of the incidents mentioned above, please do so AFTER reading a legit translation of either Valmiki's Ramayana, or Ramcharitamanas by Swami Tulasidas and THEN try to dispute my statements.

Let us move on to a normal Indian woman's disposition. The model of an Indian woman was, and is based on the unrealistic and unrelenting virtuosity of Sita. While it is commendable that Sita is not represented as a wanton harlot, it is disheartening to note that Sita's character is solely derived from her devotion to Rama. Sita has absolutely no identity of her own. Here is a Verse from Valmiki's Ramayana which mirrors the above view:

"Hanuman, the loyal monkey ally of Rama says: For a woman the greatest decoration is her lord and Sita, though incomparably beautiful, no longer shines in Rama's absence."


Ahhh, the seeds of patriarchy, I tell you.

Patriarchy has a way of using the Rama myth to build up the image of an 'ideal male', and unfortunately it has a way of focusing on Sita's devotion, and Sita's selflessness alone to project the image of an 'ideal female'. The common Indian woman is told to bear every preposterous action of her husband, because a 'good' Indian wife does not speak up, does not complain, her place is with her 'Lord'.
If she harbors thoughts of leaving him then she is 'fallen', and anyway an Indian woman has no personal identity, she belongs to her parents before marriage and she belongs to her husband and his family after marriage.
If shes unhappy in her marriage, it becomes her cardinal duty to stay in the marriage, even more so, because she can 'prove' what a good wife she is. Thereby throwing her happiness out the window for the 'greater good' of staying with her wastrel of a husband.
And the most deplorable aspect of this is that, the women themselves do not leave their husbands for fear of being ostracised by the society. Divorce in most parts of India is considered a shameful admission of a womans failure as a wife and daughter in law.
Food for thought: In a 1998 study, divorced women made up a miniscule 0.08% of the total female population in India.

Now doesn't this remind you of long suffering Sita? Patriarchy has cleverly pulled yarn over our eyes by glorifying Sita's suffering as exemplary, because of Rama being the perfect man, Sita must be blessed to bear with his 'occasional' transgression as well.

If patriarchy can use the character of Sita to suppress women, it can also be used more creatively to highlight the tribulations of women as a whole. Thereby focusing on the trails of Sita as a warning , instead of justifying her suffering.

I think women or anyone for that matter, should read a version of the Ramayana written by a WOMAN. Yes, I said 'woman', and yes it may sound blasphemous to you, but dont you know that most epics in the world are relative, told strictly from the eyes of the poet or the scribe?
Here are some versions to help you along the way of opening up a new perspective on the Ramayana:

1. Chandrabati's 16th century Bengali Ramayana.

2. Ranganayakamma's 'Ramayana Vishabriksham'.

3. Molla's 16th century Telugu Ramayana.

Or you can read these books if you find it hard to get a hold of the aforementioned versions: "Many Ramayanas; The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia" edited by Paula Richman and "Questioning Ramayanas: A South Asian Tradition" again by Paula Richman.

Sounds very dull and blase' I know, but if you've been observing my sidebar, you would know that Ive read these books and it is ANYTHING but dull, I guarantee it.

Personally, I would have loved to have Draupadi as a role model, what with her agressiveness, her frank and beautiful friendship with Krishna and her five husbands. But I cant aspire for the stars can I?
I can fathom that Sita will forever remain a role model for the Indian woman, and my only plea is to look at her selfless sacrifice and wasted virtuousness as an injunction, not as an example to emulate.

As the blemishless Sita will forever be the vagabond, the stray waif, insecure, unvalued, and shunned.

And that is why as a mark of respect to the unsullied Sita, I think that the Ramayana should be re-christened as the Sitayana.

For it is only fair.

Post Script: On a totally unrelated note, my post on the stigma of menstruation, has been featured in the XIth carnival of feminists!

So be sure to check the carnival out peep's, as there is some super-fantabulous (God, I sound cheesy! But what the heck :D) writing out there!

And thanks a ton to 'Angry for a reason' to feature my post!

Spread the 'chalu-ness' sistahs!

P.P.S: Gosh I cant seem to stop updating!

Karthik has brought to my attention, an intriguing article in the Hindu about a retelling of the Ramayana from a woman's perspective.

More info on how to procure the book can be found here.

Many thanks to Karthik for bringing it to my attention, and to you folks out there....TAKE heed of the plug, and be sure to check the book out!

86 comments:

confused said...

Very intersting commentary.

I always found Ramayana boring too, always thought Mahabharta was a better ''thriller''. It conveys all human emotions-greed, sacrifice, love, longing and not just the virtous hard to attain tale of Ramayana.

You attempt to link Sita's fate in Ramayana to the fate of Indian woman. How would you explain the status of women in Islamic socities then? Or even the status of women in Victorian England?

I think the explaination is more easy to understand and considerably less sexy. It is the economics my dear...nothing else. Who he earns the money, makes all the decisions. The proof-most of women who are financially independent refuse to be treated as doormat.

With due respects, I must also submit, you seem to be cut off from the mainstream India, or maybe I am cut off from the same. Atleast in cities, divorced women are no longer considered ''failed'', easy picking mmm,maybe but there is very little one can do about it. I am not sure divorce is the proper measurement for a women's position, but accepting it, divorces have risen exponentially in India over the last few years-India of 2006 is a lot different from India of 1998.(I can provide figures if you need them)

Whther Draupadi is the ideal women, is a matter of debate. Human maybe, ideal? But pray, why look for ideals?

Let us all define our own individual indentities.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

I am not cut off from the mainstrem India.
Metropolitan India aka mainstram India constitutes 35% of the Indian population and yes in metropolitan India, I know divorce is not frowned upon.

But I am talking about the remaining 65% of India. The small towns, the villages...would divorce be accepted in a society like that? I dont think so.

And I never said Draupadi was 'ideal'. Read it carefully. Role models are never 'ideal'. And I specifically used the word 'personally'.

So there.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

And I am using ONLY Indian women as my example for the simple reason: I am an Indian woman and even if I havent gone through blatant illtreatment, I have seen it, and so Im sticking to first hand knowledge here...... and the Ramayana is very much Indian...so it only makes sense for me to talk about Indian women does it not?

yuvraj said...

ya...i accept that divorce is considered as a disgraceful thing for a women and her family out here...but the women in india still consider (one for one) as their divine principle..dont know why?
even if she is not in love with her husband ,she still clings on him and the principle..
i dont know abt ramayana and mahabs....is there any proof that the characters existed?if there is,please lemme know...
nice template..

confused said...

I agree but there you proved what I said. Because in that other 65% of the population, women are not economically independent even though thy might be the breadwinner!!! Do cultural values play a part? Sure but it would easier to address more tangible issues like economic status of woman.

I mentioned about Islamic socities to buttress my point that simple economics play a much larger role. With or without Ramayana, women in Islamic socities are much worse off.

Megha, I understand your point and I appreciate your reasnoning. But at the end of the day I believe economics is a more powerful than any cultural taboos, infact I would say economics can reinvent culture.

Sita and other such ideal figures do not shape our destiny, I believe they provide a fallback point. What I mean is a women might justify her current (poor) status by what Sita had to go through in Ramayana, but Ramayana is not the root cause of her misery but merely a justification for the same.

Also, Sita's exile gave the message that a king had to place his subjects above all. I suspect it was a message that you might have to sacrifice your most precious thing to be an ideal king. Does that make Sita's humilation justified? Hell no, but to ascribe modern feminist standards to a text written thousands of year ago does not seem to make a lot of sense.

If you are trying to say that a feminist reinterpretation of Ramayana will improve the fate of women in our society...i cant quite agree.

It might be of academic interest but little beyond it.

Later

and yes I got the point about Draupadi...my bad

Ashwini said...

I love your new template.
And your post is very thought-provoking.
Very different from the lungi post.
I always hated Sita, very depressing character.

FSN 2.2 said...

All your points are valid, but Sitayana? How much of the ramayana is actually about Sita? Until Rama breaks that bow or whatever, sita isn't even in the picture.Just because of a couple of her qualities, we gotta name it Sitayana? I dont consider myself a chauvinist by any means, but still - I have to side with the guy that most of the story is about.

I'm not sure if you actually meant it or were just speaking thus in view of some colorful rhetoric.

Madame Mahima said...

excellent post megha!
that problem with india's religion and culture is the two of them are so damn intertwined with each other..sometimes its hard to see where the patriarchy ends and the culture begins.

why should a woman be exiled JUST because of hearsay? this whole idea is still so prevalent in todays society..it completely pisses me off..
have we no merit on our own?

is everything about us merely complementary to the men in our lives?

is everything we DO just as add-on to whats already been accomplished by the men?

and perhaps most importantly..does this mindset ever have hope of changing?

Kaushik Ramajayam said...

Hmm... a real thinker, this one.

I've read Rajaji's version of the Ramayana, and he stops with Rama's return to Ayodhya. He then says something like (paraphrasing) "I consider the Rama avatar to have ended after Rama's return to Ayodhya. This is because later episodes like banishing the virtuous Sita to the forest seem like human foibles rather than the behaviour of the ideal man." I subscribe to that view.

I believe that Sita is basically an incomplete character. Possibly the Ramayana was intended to showcase the qualities of manhood (keeping in mind the above point) more than womanhood. It's a reasonably good (note: not complete or perfect) description of how an ideal wife should be; in terms of virtue and loyalty to husband and family, but not even close to a good description of the ideal woman. But then, our ancestors had trouble with the concept of a "woman", distinct from "wife", "mother" and "daughter". The idea that she is more than any or all of these roles was not popular then and still isn't, I guess.

Incidentally, I think the reason Draupadi is not considered a role model for women is because in the Mahabharata, she was born along with a prophecy that she would be the reason for the destruction of the Kaurava family or something like that. Which is a pity, because she had several admirable qualities. A separate post/comment on her, perhaps.

Divorce: It's a sad thing that it's still considered the woman's fault (like pretty much everything else). I think it's because of the philosophy of arranged marriages: the wife is expected to "compromise" in the interests of the happiness of the family overall. I'm not trashing the arranged marriage system, by the way. While this was probably meant in a good way originally, it has since come to mean that a woman should put up with pretty much anything. Sad.

(sorry for that lengthy comment!)

neha vish said...

Agree with you on many accounts. What we really miss is Sita's perspective on being dragged into the greater cosmic battle between good and evil. No one likes being a pawn yeah? Btw, I suggest you do take a look at this Sitayana- it is lighthearted with being completely irreverant - but it's Sita singing the blues. Brilliant stuff.

Redefining Sita may not help women in direct ways, but it provides a healthy role model. Or maybe we should just read the book as a cynical perspective - good fights evil - overcoming many obstacles, a country gets burnt down, bridge building technology improves, machines fly and yet in the end - the woman's position is only worse. :)

Jim said...

I too have only read C Rajagopalachari's version, and I agree with Kaushik's view that the purpose of the epic was to describe how "the ideal man" must behave. This dovetails nicely with Sita being an underdeveloped character. Given that it was written by a guy, (possibly) for guys (sounds familiar?), it's not very surprising that Sita's role is minimal and her character is without a solid identity. Valmiki perhaps did not intend her to become a role model of any sort, but then religion has a nasty property of being fluid enough to be manipulated to twist certain peoples' needs. Also, I think Rajaji truncated the end because times had changed, and there was less one could get away with without being labelled sexist.

Deepali said...

Interesting.

I haven't read the books you mentioned but from previous conversations with those who've spent a lot of time researching this I found out:

1. Sita has a less passive character in South Indian versions of Ramayana and just a whole lot more character overall.

2.That it is a [rather convenient at that] misconception [not yours but how Ramayana is projected] that Rama is the 'ideal' man. My religions course touched on this briefly as well. Rama is better looked upon as part avatar. At the end of the day, Rama is not God [well Krishna here] himself, but an incarnate. Thus he is not perfect as no human being can be. I don't think this is included in Valmiki's version so i'll have to ask my professor where he got that from.

3. Isn't it convenient to use Sita as an example and role model for Indian women vs say Durga with her ferocity courage and just immense strength and heck even aggression!

4. One of the questions I plan to research on but if you know the answer from your readings I'd love to be put out of my misery[one of them, as naggin questions can bring]: If Sita had the strength to be able to single handedly pick up the Dhanushbaand that her father put forth as a test during her Swayamvar, then why on earth could she not put up a fight against Ravana? Sure she might have lost, given his powers but would an attempt have hurt given the situation?

I personally didn't care much for Ramayana although I still find Lakshman's devotion and love for Rama rather touching. I'm big on sibling love.

Will check out the mentioned books once summer break is around. Good topic mind you!

T said...

If you write some more you'll out write ramayana. Girl u sure can opine. hats off

Anonymous said...

god...WHAtever!! its a MYTHological tale..get over it

renegadefade said...

I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I appreciate your trying to raise awareness about various issues women have to deal with. I still somehow feel that you assign too much importance to things that do not matter much. Taking the Ramayana as a case in point, how many people actually follow it in their day to day lives? It is just a story after all. Sita’s poor treatment by Ram is recognized by people and even if it isn’t, does it really matter? Are people that worship Durga/Kali any better off in terms of their treatment of women? I doubt it. What about people from religions other than Hinduism?

I don’t think that a few thousand years old text is worth wasting time on. Also, though men should recognize that women have an equal role to play, the real change is not going to come unless women do so. The state of the women in India today has a lot to do with conditioning more than anything else. What else explains women refusing to stand up for each other in times of crisis, indeed even inflicting suffering on other women, as is the case with countless cases of dowry related torture and killings.

As for the title change, it is a story about someone named Ram so it doesn’t really make sense to change it to Sitayana. Maybe somebody could rewrite the whole thing from Sita’s viewpoint if they think it’ll matter.

ladyparadox said...

hey! good one!

Deepti said...

hey megha!! Btw.. a really good topic to hit on!! I think I would have had a hundred fights with this guy in my office on the very same topic! He'd keep harping about how Rama was the ideal man ...the perfect god ..and that we all needed to emulate his character.. while I argued ..that no man who could lend credence to malicious gossip and thereby banish his wife who was in no way a guilty party be anywhere close to ideal!!! Rama failed I believe as a man and a husband as far as idealism is concerned. But tell me .. on seeing Luv and Kush didn't Rama ask to take his sons and Sita back and Bhoomi Mata emerge from the earth saying 'My daughter will not return to you ? you have not done well by her?'. If i'm right abt that hurrah for empowerment!!

@ Confused - //Sita and other such ideal figures do not shape our destiny//

Wake up!!! Ofcourse they do!! Look at the oppression that most women face!! No woman is considered equal to any man !!! Her primary duty lies in serving the males in her family.. Ramayana and Rama exemplified as ideal have laid the foundation to the way our society is ! Fine..today no one might really tell you outright, be like Sita ..but underlying... its always there... The woman whose husband cheats on her, is told to forgive him for his destiny is hers?? The woman shunted out of home because her husband suspects her behaviour is an outcast because ' there is no smoke without fire' .. and don't say it doesn't exist today.. Probably not amongst the ppl u see.. but it does exist!!!

@ Kaushik - Hey~! I have heard of Rajaji 's verison too.. and completely completely am totally in agreement with you!!!

Deepti said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Casablanca said...

*applause*
Great post! Glad to have found my way to your blog. Expect guests more often, you chalu one :D

nina said...

really good post...always wanted to read that book but never got around to it...will do so asap...

Siddhu said...

Hahaha! Dev ji where are u??? LOL

Siddhu said...

Oh. And awesome template too! :D

suryakannan said...

It was written for a different age, when the world was less mean than it is right now and and we can't discredit the possiblity that both men n women lead a close to perfect life and had mutual respect for each other.

Perhaps, we r tryin 2 examine the macrocosm with a low resolution telescope.Consider the circumstances that existed during pre-sita extermination period.

Ram was CHIVALROUS too,by any means did he force sita to go with him to jungle? Infact he tried his level best to avoid her.All these mishaps happened coz of one person,KAIKEYI.

She was also good but she was spoiled by another women "KOONI" who fabricated an artificial ruthlessness in treatment to the eyes of kaikeyi and made her to live in tht environment.

Dasaratha, was quite innocent and he died coz of a women.Ram relented to a cruel wish n was all set to walk alone in facing his struggles but he has to yield to peer pressure.

How can u expect a person to be all cheese n honey when most of the troubles in his life are spelled by women.

so, the pent up feelings gave him away to gossip n ram has to keep his hard earned fourteen years penance. He fought a war for sita n saved her from an octopus's tentacles.

Ram knew sita was pure but he was unable to prove tht to his countrymen n he did know the fact tht sita ll be unaffected by fire.

He'd ve had this suspicion before war but y didn't he? n could have easily walked away with someone else but the crux is he had something in his mind tht shud see the light of this world.

He never quit in bringing back sita.
He chased a stupid deer jus coz tht wud please his wife.
There was a brother-in-law who was sincere in protecting his sister-in-law.
She disobeyed his plea, n coz of tht everyone has to court disasters.
Ram tried n he won in bringing back his sweetheart.

My point is tht THE EQUATION IS QUITE BALANCED.

kaikeyi versus sita, evil n kindly evil.
Ram versus ravan, henchman n hooligan.

Change the sequence n u ll get a plain tamil masala movie, so god thot he shud make it as interesting as we are.so the contradictions are skilfully implanted in the plot jus to underscore its importance.

Concepts are given n it is left 2 us to make our inferences.

megha, u were a NEO-FEMINIST, when did u change into a LEO-FEMINIST ? i'm not tryin 2 make an argument here but i'm telling it might hav been this way in my opinion and as far from wat i ve read.It may b right r mayb wrong.

The transition is appreciated coz all of us need to stand for something we feel strongly.

"sitayana" sounds good....y can't u jus rewrite the whole epic in ur own style ? tht ll be awesome!

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ yuvraj: I dont think there is proof that the characters existed....but then again I may be wrong....

@ confused: they may not shape our destiny yeah?...But patriarchy does use them as role models to control women, so put yourself in a woman's shoes and consider it again:)

@ Ashwini: thankoooo! ha ha...you hate Sita...so who do you like Draupadi eh?

@ fsn 2.0: Ok...I repeat....it is again relative and it depends on what version you read.

@ Mahi: "why should a woman be exiled JUST because of hearsay? this whole idea is still so prevalent in todays society..it completely pisses me off..
have we no merit on our own?

is everything about us merely complementary to the men in our lives?

is everything we DO just as add-on to whats already been accomplished by the men?"


That was my point exactly....being an add on to a mans greatness and I wanted to show people who say that age old epics have no say in our life....THAT they do...some guys I swear.
:D

@ Kaushik: Ive read Rajaji's version too, and thankfully that version is actually one which I like, because Rajaji is so diplomatic:)

@ Neha Vish: thanks for the link...I love-love-loved it. I cant belive how creative it was...thankooo!

@ Jim: Sounds very familiar....but I actually respect Rajaji's desicion to focus on Rama's goodness alone...thats fine:)

@ Dee: OMG! You mirror my thought exactly! If Sita was powerful enough to life the dhanushbaand SINGLE-HANDEDLY, and remember Ravana couldnt lift in during the Swayamvar, he couldnt even move it.
My only explanation: Frankly I think the author conveniently forgot about the fact that Sita was actually powerful, choosing to focus on Rama instead. For if Sita was powerful, then how can you project Rama as noble and ideal. Sita has to be clingy and weak, it makes Rama look better.

@ t: *blushes*...thank you! Youre too kind:D

@ Anon: hahahahah...like Im crying over it...

@ Renegadefade: Again you talk about the people you see around you. Please expand your horizons and then try to look at it from a different point of view.

@ lady paradox: thank you!

@ Deepti: why do people(guys) say that it has no meaning today?
Rama was a poor husband first. And people who say that nobody follows Ramayana today have the same yarn over their eyes. Nobody today tells other people "to be like Sita" BUT the foundation of 'ideal man' ' woman serving ideal man, becomes ideal' set by the Ramayana is still actively followed.
I totally agree with you Deepti and you keep arguing with the guy at your work!:D

@ Casa: thanks chalu-sistah! and welcome to the turf!:D

@ Nina: read it Nina, itll open a whole new perspective!

@ siddhu: oh no Siddhu! The last thing I need is Devprabhuji right now! Nooooo:D
And thanks on the template!

Deaths Head Roy said...

cool post.....

guess u also forgot to send the CSS of the template, but on closer observation, i did get a link for this and other templates to be downloaded....

eternal flunky said...

shit! yet again i couldnt read thru all comments posted here so sorry if i repeat anything or say something that someone has jus proved most obviously wrong.
first off, its interesting that you should publish this post less than two weeks after the reading conducted by brit council chennai, of a translation of c.n.sreekandan nair's "kanchana sita". the translation of the text as well as another version of the epic by a sarah joseph was done by vasanthi sankaranarayanan, a noted critic, etc..
http://www.hindu.com/2005/08/21/stories/2005082101820200.htm

check out the above link if yer interested in a ramayana which is sensitive to the woman's perspective, etc....

anyway, i went to hear the reading (not jus cos me's bro was part of the cast) and there was this nice discussion that took place afterwards where they were saying that the best part bout most myths and ramayana in specific is that there are so many versions and perspectives it allows for. thus a growth as we grow. i thus encourage u to write the sitayana.
as for 'confused', u make a valuable point on the economics and shit but you totally ignore the full role (for the immediate lack of a better word) of the ramayana in indian society. it has been used much more than safe-within-four-walls-and-very-educated ppl like us could ever comprehend. actually, im sure even thats not true.. even we'v been caught by the bug.. hmmmm....
anyway, as to what hindus have as the ideals learnt from ramayana, all other religions and regions and ppl have in other forms of teachings. these 'teachings' truly matter. i'l talk bout it more when i'v read more bout it. but consider my point.
ok.... i admit im neither well-read nor articulate enough to argue about culture and society and such stuff.... but if you havent already seen it, try and get hold of this docu-film by anand patwardhan called "father son and holy war".
and 'madame mahima',
"that problem with india's religion and culture is the two of them are so damn intertwined with each other", you say.
but religion's been the biggest contributor to all cultures forever! if anything we should see thru the stupid god-person and live without fear.... :)
anyway, yer background is nicer, punksteress ...(oops)i mean.. punkster, punk.

Anna said...

@megha...
Great post..
have often thought that the part where an indignant and hurt Sita goes back to her mother at the end, is the best.. But my Q is - Why didnt she do that the first time he "doubted" her??
@suryakannan
//kaikeyi versus sita, evil n kindly evil.
Ram versus ravan, henchman n hooligan//
Excusez moi? Did you just assert that "Ram" is a henchman and Sita is kindly evil??? Or did i just misunderstand?

And as far as i understand it, Ram did doubt Sita's...ugh... "purity" even after the Agnipariksha?
(although why she should be "pure", i really cannot understand... Why not just "sweet" or "perfect" ? Why "pure" ? Like she's oil or gold or some commodity that has a market standard to keep up..."pure"!!!)
And divorced women are NOT accepted by society, trust me.. they are looked at as having some deficit in them... bleh..

suryakannan said...

@anna:u ve jus mistaken, ram becomes a henchman to sita, when she thinks "oh...how can my dear hubby do these things to me, jus bcoz he is made to head a belief of a bunch of ppl".By this way, when sita's outlook changes, ram is a henchman.


Sita, becomes kindly evil when ram has to risk losing his frnds n he was on the verge of losing his brother, but with "sanjeevani" herb brought by hanuman, he survives.At this juncture he thinks , a spark of doubt tht streaks his mind abt a possiblity of thought tht suggests this way, "sita as kindly evil" n he immediately dismisses tht from his mind.


ALL THESE THINGS ARE EXPLAINED BY RAMAKRISHNA PARAMAHAMSA TO HIS DISCIPLE SWAMI VIVEKANANDA, when vivekananda had the same doubts we had and finally ramakrishna states tht these are all nuances of a big play which can be interpreted by different persons in different ways.

"Sweet and perfect" relates to "Pure and Immaculate" those days, the very quality u wished the would-be expect to see in his wife, had covered the tracks on these ways.
we ve evolved with new qualities replacing the older ones and no, the society is not influenced by religions anymore ,but it is becoming a huge investment sector mainly for business sake spinning out gallons in tons of rupees n dollars.

so, we can't make comparisons with a picture tht was taken when we were two years old, with a picture we hav right now which is twenty years old,religion hardly comes into focus these days.

suryakannan said...

@megha: sita is not weak n clingy to make rama look better.she is independent n stronger,she has the potential to lift that n tht point is highlighted in "kambaramayanam" when kambar says tht,while sita was playing she unknowingly lifted tht dhanushbaand n from tht time onwards it was never brought into her focus.

so the bridegroom has to match the bride n not the other way around, tht may b the reason why the author did not choose to concentrate on sita, having explained abt her prowess earlier.

SamY said...

The only part of ramayan that I liked were Hanuman (the non-devotee part of him), Ravana himself and Indrajeet if I might a

"Lord Rama" seems to be fundamentally as flawed as any other ordinary man

that way I love Mahabarath more ... more attuned to the practical world

Freaky Chakra said...

Mahabharat totally kicks Ramamyan's ass - fights, family-drama, 5-on-one action, epic battles & Krishna... a lord of the rings in the making I tell you! :D

But jokes aside, the reason i think most people now find it hard to relate to ramayan is...

1. Ram is obviously an asshole!
2. Sita's character is just unreal.

Man, she just needs shit beaten out of her for being SO stupid! I mean some women are just gluttons for punishment.

But then again, this is a character written by a person who was obviously a little confused about what the ideal-man and woman should be like. So, I dont think being too harsh on Sita helps.

I've always found Ravan's character the most favourite. I mean here is the guy who did not "destroy" sita! Think about it

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ freaky: hell yeah mahabharat kicks Ramayans ass!
And draupadi....now if more women like her...India would be a far better place:D....hee...hee...

the wannabe indian punkster said...

if more women 'were' like her...

politically_incorrect_guy said...

I felt that your role model should be Arundathi Roy .You are making yourself into a nice feminist.... maybe a temple burning one ???? Good Luck Maam.

politically_incorrect_guy said...

If you are suggesting that Hinduism== patriarchy, i would suggest that you remove the link toward "Pseudo Secularism" blog and replace with something that supports Atheism or marxism or radical feminism. Would make more sense to your blog.

politically_incorrect_guy said...

It is always easy to make a Sitayana and make Ramayana as one big story of man harrasing woman and likewise telling that Hinduism === one big male conspiracy against women etc etc . But you have not considered some things.

1.dont forget that the root cause of all problems in Ramayana were two women - One was the hunchback and other was the Queen (Kaikeyi)

2.And again, before asking guys to put themselves in the shoes of women and emphathise (or support)their view point, you should attempt to do the same and transplant yourself into the historic era (3000 years or so back)when Ramayana Supposedly happened..... it was a different era, with different moral and ethical challenges and standards and it was when there was nothing like technology or communication or mass education. LIving was a struggle by any standards. Even if you lived through that age, you would have opted (even as a woman) to justify the act of Rama. The moral and ethical standards of our times cannot be transported to another era .

3.And more importantly, we will never get to know what exactly happened because, due to oral tradition , the whole story could have been suitably reworded and reinterpreted to mean something else. It is quite possible that in the period between Ramayana incidentds and today, male supremacist thinking could have moulded the society over brief periods and the scholars of that era could have introduced incidents to suit their own beliefs and value systems. I always felt that the agnipariksha and the Uttara Ramayana (Ramayana after the War) were latter day insertions.

politically_incorrect_guy said...

One more thing i am unable to understand is the connection between well being of women and divorce. Does high divorce rates in a nation/society imply that women are well off? I disagree. USA's current divorce rates are around 45%, yet one of the American states (S.Dakota) has declared Abortion illegal (even in the backward patriarichial and women oppressing India, abortion is legal and all you need is money). Female abuse ,rape and even domestic violence rates are pretty high. There is no direct correlation between high divorce rates and well being of women

And for India's figures, there is no clear statistic to estimate divorce rates in India. In India, the judiciary and legal systems are in shambles. It takes too much money and hell lot of time to initiate any legal proceeding (case) in India. Hence if we consider wives and husbands living separately equal to divorce, we can say that India's divorce rate stands at 5-9%. Which is same as divorce rate in Europe and USA before 1930s.

confused said...

@Deepti

First, your statements are so sweeping that it is difficult to believe them....''All woman''... with due respects your personal experiences can be a benchmark for judging the rest of the society.

Read my comments again, I argued that the economics is more important than cultural issues. If a woman has economic independence then the cultural values do not matter. They merely act as self justification when the women is subjugated.... I believe that instead of rewriting Ramayana, it is more important to think of economic issues...thats all...

The problem is that your are accepting a literal translation of Ramayana, no book however great would be relevant after 5000 years-only its values remain relevant... To argue otherwise is to commit the same mistake Islamists are doing...

@Freaky..

So Ram is an asshole because he doubted Sita and Ravana is ideal because he kidnapped Sita and then did not ''violate '' her...

Makes a lot of sense!!!!

Just a word about Draupadi-she having 5 husbands was not her own choice, it was merely an accident because Kunti asked the 5 pandavas to share Draupdi...so her meek acceptance to being divided as fruit among 5 people makes her an ideal....

Really?

confused said...

and sorry that is cannot be a justification for...my bad

Deepali said...

I think if Hindus will start to look upon Ramayana as not being without flaws [that is Rama for you people] and recognize Rama was good but with flaws we'll look at a change in gender stereotypes because honestly, Ramayana has a pretty strong hold where I come from.

And I don't understand why no one seems to ponder over Rama's self inflicted misery after he banished Sita. He made a mistake and people, he suffered for it too[ as did Sita of course].

And looks like you found a troll in politically incorrect guy, Ms Arundhati's cheli! :P

the wannabe indian punkster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ Death heads roy: Whooooooops! I completely forgot.....sorryyyy....but if you click on blogger templates in my sidebar I think youll get what you need.

@ Karthik: thankooooo! check the update on my post.

@ Anna: Hell yeah I think the ending is the best part! And check the P.P.S, youll love the book suggested there.

@ Suryakannan: Sita as kindly evil? Dude...like seriously.....she lifts the bow. I agree. But where did all her 'strength' go when she was driven out of the kingdom by Rama while she was HEAVILY PREGNANT WITH HIS CHILDREN? When she was told to go through the 'Agnipariksha'after being tortured by Ravana? Why didnt she even SPEAK ONE WORD against Rama, for his silly decisions? Physical strenth is not the point here. Strenth to stand up for oneself while faced with blatant illtreatment, is what Im talking about.

@ Samy: Mahabharat is a hundred times better. True.

@ Politically Incorrect: ahhh you again......'Arundhati Roy type feminist'.....hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......seriously dude its people like you that crak me up! :D

@ Deepali: hahahaha I know! As for me being Arundhati's cheli, youre not far behing either...:P......hee hee...

doppelganger said...

Hi, just navigated to your blog during a random excursion.
Really interesting the points you raised. Seems like you've done a ton of research and I am almost scared to say anything, but I guess I'll go ahead anyway.
I think it brings to light the importance of abstracting out particularities and adapting the teachings of the epics to suit our times. You'll have to blame society's rigid interpretation of these epics for the disconnect you see nowadays.

In this context, Amartya Sen in his book "The Argumentative Indian", talks about how people wrongly think that Hinduism has a gender bias and provides effective counterexamples. He also raises the point that these epics are not to be taken as the "word of God"(something which Hinduism always avoids) but as a starting point which thrusts you onto the path of inquiry. In fact, this book questions the thesis of the Gita itself. Sen argues about how Arjuna's viewpoint is not insignificant and how you should not look at it as the victory of duty over love but rather as the constant tussle between the two.

Tremendous article. Really got me thinking.

suryakannan said...

@megha:I understand, i wasn't spkin abt the physical strength.It was jus a parallel line of observation to highlight tht sita is noway behind ram.

Not speakin anything when she was sent out, is jus to make the story "melodramatic" like our megaserials ,"tear-churners" type.
she didn't speak, but she sent a clear message "I LL SPK IN UR LANGUAGE ONE DAY".

In that way ,she powerfully communicates through silence which is thousand times effective than a word spoken.And she did speak,thro' her two sons luv and kusha.They asked all the nasty questions to ram,and for which it seems tht he deeply regretted and confessed his mistakes in life.

Resilence,Rebellion,Compassion,Brotherhood,Obedience and also a story of glorious and a courageous women thts wat ramayana is all about.

It doesn't center around ram or the male community, infact it is centered more on women.If the writer stopped with rama getting married, he would have never projected the commanding resilence n independence of a women.

Why did he do so, to make the character of ram to have a tinge of weak shade all the time? its jus 2 trigger the impact of self destruction by ambivalence ,constantly shuttling between extremities of trust n mistrust.

In tht way, sita is very clear from the beginning n she may hav felt it useless to talk abt this issue which indicates her strength(NOT PHYSICAL) of mind and ability to face the world singlehandedly.

It's our choice ,to decoct the essence of each character.Everyone has gud n bad qualities n so sita and ram have those same traits.

My line of discussion is "ramayana" doesn't make women weaker or ram does it. It empowers them at the final moment, in its climax.

suryakannan said...

On a completely different note coming out from the universe of ram n sita, i really n'joy reading this blog.

A cup of warm filter coffee and steaming hot debates and discussions in this section ,makes my perfect morning.A colourful collage.mmm...i'm smackin' my lipcorners as i give away my mind to this 'brainstorm' and my tongue to penetrate the layers of taste.

Cheers!!!(cup clinks) i dun think u get 2 drink filter coffee more often like in here,deep south.

Wrong number said...

On a purely political note... "Caesar's wife should be above suspicion", makes good governmental sense. What would you rather have Rama do? Have the dhobi flogged or beheaded? It is neccessary for a stable government that the leader should be above reproach.
I can see that your primary issue is with Rama being a role model. I'd sooner say "sissy" but what can i base that on? Oh nothing much: the (stealth) attack on Vali, the crying over his missing wife, the guerilla (goriila!) warfare. Doesnt come across as a hero surely. But as a statesman, his decisions are almost Chanakya-esque. Very incisive in his analysis. Very firm in his decision-making and very thoughtful, if not always even-handed, in his treatment of his chosen confederates.

There is justification for his actions. That the justifications are not adequate for you, is neither here nor there.

The primary issue is the glorification of Rama. There is no doubt whatsoever that the theory of 'Rama as an ideal' can be torn to shreds. Even more so the theory that Ramayana is battle between good and evil. Obviously the epic is essentially a story of two feudal chiefs, one of whom won because he had more resources and different kinds of them (Jatayu, Vibhishana, Sugriva, Hanuman). The deification of Rama as Vishnu incarnate was *probably *an Aryan ploy...

It is as logical to assume Ramayana is a story of God, as it is to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea.

Oh incidentally, I dont think you make a lot of sense when you decide to change the name of the story to Sitayana. She isnt the protagonist of the tale we have read/seen/heard. Ofcourse I have no issues whatsoever if you choose to write a book Sitayana with the lady as the star. But this book remains "Ramayana"...

Saale
p.s. you write well. not very logically i'm afraid, but you do have a flair.

eyefry said...

Hi,

A search on Sita landed me here (in a weirdish coincidence, I notice my little bro Flunky's also been here and done that). Anyway, I just wanted to say that - in defense of ancient mythic texts such as the Ramayana that have endured long centuries of social flux (and with good reason, as I will presently strive to explain...) - archetypal symbols and characters are usually so structured as to allow maximum leeway for interpretation. Among the 600-odd stipulated versions of the Ramayana, one, known as the Uttara Ramayana (on which Sreekantan Nair's play Kanchana Sita, that you cite, was based), presents the Ramayana wholly from Sita's perspective. It is also worth noting that (much like self-replicating fractals in mathematics) each of these 600 Ramayanas is populated, in turn, with characters so diverse as to democratically present every point of view prevalent in society.

The ending and the narrative notwithstanding, as a parablic text, it contains everything from intense filial devotion and cloying piety to cold rationalism and dismissive atheism (the character Jabali, a courtier in Ayodhya, ridicules Rama and his religiosity, openly questioning the existence of god). Again, the fact that key elements in the story such as the ill-treatment of Sita and the indifference of Rama rile you, in itself, says much about the effectiveness of the Ramayana. All works of art, ultimately, can only truly be judged by the reactions they provoke - and the greater the variety of these reactions, the more complex and versatile the work is.

We choose to take Sita as the Ideal in Ramayana simply because she's the lynch-pin in the narrative, but there are several other contrasting female characters one could equally emulate - such as the learned Urmila, the mischievous Mandavi, mystical Mandodari (hmm, this is starting to sound like an assembly of India-themed cabbage-patch dolls), or anyone, for that matter.

But this's turned into a long, boring, terribly dreary discourse. Many apologies :0. In passing, if you're interested, I'd like to guide you (in an act of shameless self-promotion), to two articles (This and This) on Religion and its subversions. I assure you, neither is as pseudo as I make it sound (or so I hope!).

Cheers.

Drops Of Jupiter said...

Yeah I used to like it until I read the part two bit where he drives sita away. I was ten years old and hopping mad! I denounced it.

eyefry said...

On a less-pseudo note, I must mention that it really warms the cockles of my heart to bump into other readers of Neil Gaiman. Of course, you are in Amyeriga and hence in a relatively privileged position. Still...

politically_incorrect_guy said...

@Dee -

You call me a troll... do you know what a troll is? is being politically incorrect and being a troll same? Get your vocabulary updated.. and i did not find any intelligent analysis on any of points i raised

@Megha -

You really get cracked up when someone calls you as an Arundathi Roy ; Just think of what happens when (radical) feminists make simplistic sweeping statements dismissing each and every discomfort and difficulty you face in life as being a consequence of patriarchy ..Radical Feminist history reporting is a simplistic cause-effect analysis reducing 6000 years of Civilised life as one long tale of men oppressing and torturing women... Got it? It always helps to be in other person's shoes, right?

@ Everyone else:

1.The basic purpose of Ramayana (IMHO) is to elucidate a simple view namely "To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine". Lord Rama's acts and behavior with regard to his wife, or his killing of Vali is never never justified - he is to be potrayed as an ideal example of how even a God , when undergoing a Human life and a human like existence, makes the same mistakes as normal mortals do...even God gets its own limitations when taking human life. This is the principal moral behind Ramayana. Remember we are talking about a God choosing to be a Man in some 5th or 50th century BC, an era when there was no IT, No Communications, No computers, no democracy, no human rights, no universal education, no industry, no electricity, and much of India was a wild jungle with all crazy creatures. The story of Ramayana should be analysed with all this in background. Im dead sure that a Lord Rama born in present times would be infinitely a better mortal than the so called progressive liberal wannabies out in our world who keep preaching ideologies to rest of us.

2.If a person wishes to dissect Ramayana with a political agenda, the end result of the analysis could always be tailored to whatever he or she wishes. This is true of anything. You can always enter a laboratory and decide on what results you want and then design the testing conditions to produce those results.

3. Finding no response to my take on divorce rates ,India and empowerment of women. Huh !

Anna said...

I forgot to say.. NICE template... :-)
Looks like the same designer as mine.. :-)

and i just dont have the strength of mind or patience to do rebuttal session with suryakannan.. forgive me.. Exams are over!!! and i am in blissful heaven...
:-)
lol...

politically_incorrect_guy said...

Returning to the topic of Divorce, it is a fact that Divorced women are looked down in the society as being of suspectible moral standards and doubtful sexual behaviour. But interestingly as well as disturbingly, there isnt much analysis of the impact of divorce on men (because it is not a sexy issue and because it is politically incorrect). In almost 90% of the divorce cases, Women are granted custody of children, even though it is quite possible that Men could have better parenting abilities than women. This aspect is generally ignored by the NGO and Progressive Liberal Women activists (since divorcee women, esp elite women form a vocal constituent of the Feminist Constituency in India). The impact of separation from spouse and kids devastates and damages the male side much more. The biggest loss for women from divorce used to be financial loss but this has been set right by maintenance laws. But the loss for men is mostly non financial and emotional, but there is little or no attempt made to redress this aspect.

Also, just as divorcee women face a "stigma", many men who are trapped in false dowry cases face stigma and humiliation by general public(many of these cases initiated from men and women on the bride's family towards ulterior motives and it at times gets directed toward's the bridegroom's mother/sister too).... i am seeing a trend whereby in another 10 years, divorcee men, men accused of taking dowry (even if it were unsubstantiated allegation), men falsely accused of rape and sexual crimes all could end up with severe social stigma and public abuse/harrasment and this could infact morph into a profitable industry on its own.

kuttichuvaru said...

oh... 'chalu-ness' has become an official word, huh?? guess it will soon enter Wikipedia!! Thanks to Mr.Dev!!

Freaky Chakra said...

@politically incorrect guy:
First of all... I dont want a long drawn out argument with you, simply becoz I think u are looking for cheap publicity & wich is y in all fairness Megha ignored ur 1st... er, few comments.

But you still persist. I have some more pertinent questions...

1. Why is ur profile not accessible?
2. Why dont you show urself? too scared?

PLease go get the two decent working neurons in ur head before u come and spam these "oh-so-profound comments" which HAS to be brought to EVERYONE's notice -

//@ Everyone else:
*some rambling, I dint go thru & chances are nobody else will*//

The essence of what Megha is trying to say is not in the least radical. It just views an old tale thru the light of our modern social understanding.

& what's your fixation with divorce? tell you what... why dont your compile all these comments and roll them up nicely & make a nice, long, meaningful and profound post on blog - instead of spamming comment sections with comments the size of my term-papers!

Go ramble on in ur blog... send us ur link! & in the meanwhile... please get a life!

PS: sorry megha for all this... but kinda flipped after seeing the nonsense spread out here

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Thank you sooooooooooo much freaky!
I left him alone cos I knew he was just lookin for cheap publicity...
you took the words right out of my mouth:D

Freaky Chakra said...

anytime :)

politically_incorrect_guy said...

I'm sorry freaky chakra, I'm ugly and I have no friends. And obviously, I have no girlfriends either. My only excitement is to stay up at night and make long pointless comments on blogs countering others views. I feel that Indian women should stay at home and speak when spoken to. Speaking out candidly like this on a Blog is just blasphemy of everything Indian.
I may be Dev or a regular to this blog, someone like 'confused' ... That is the reason why I don't reveal my name. Got it?

politically_incorrect_guy said...

A big Sorry to Everyone... I've just made a complete fool of myself. I'm the biggest LOSER on the face of this earth. I deserve to be castrated. But after that I'll find another blog to troll or I'll change my mind and come back here again on another ID. I'm jealous of all of you for having blogs and comments. I hate you all for being happy.

confused said...

@ Freaky

Gotcha, I juss thought we were having a nice little discussion here...but guess wrong!!

My bad, if I violated any rules of your blog...

Sincere apologies...

Anonymous said...

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the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ confused:
Really when did this blog become freaky's blog? Come on man...that was a low blow...I dont appreciate that at all.
He never meant anything againt you...his comment was solely for politically_incorrect_guy.
Please read politically_incorrect_guy's comments and THEN read freaky's comment.

Im sorry but your comment about this being Freaky's blog was in horrendous taste.

confused said...

Megha,'

This is what Freaky wrote...
//@ Everyone else:
*some rambling, I dint go thru & chances are nobody else will*//

The essence of what Megha is trying to say is not in the least radical. It just views an old tale thru the light of our modern social understanding.

& what's your fixation with divorce? tell you what... why dont your compile all these comments and roll them up nicely & make a nice, long, meaningful and profound post on blog - instead of spamming comment sections with comments the size of my term-papers!

Go ramble on in ur blog... send us ur link! & in the meanwhile... please get a life!

Note the @everyone else...

Since he had already addressed Politically_incrrect guy, I dont think this was meant for him...

You wrote a thought provoking post, obviously it would elicit a lot of opinions, some of which contrarian to what you feel. I dont see anything wrong in it....and then ofcourse you have the option of enabling comment moderation...or trashing comments which you dont like.

I dt think it was that horrendous, maybe a lil cheeky but I just wanted to get my point across in the least offensive way possible.

Thanks

useless said...

Megha,
I've read Richman's article and also Ranganayakamma's Vishavriksham (when I had my pink commie proclivities) and ofcourse the only feminist poet in Tamilnadu Bharatiyar who revelled in role reversals and portrayed a different Surpanakha in his satyrical tale titled Horns of a Horse.

On women retelling Ramayanas you might want to read this manushiarticle

Whenever I think of Sita,I think "who is your daddy".In the mahabharata there is a small side-tale of a debate between Janaka and a female ascetic named Sulabha.Janaka comes across as the most patriarchical character.No wonder Sita was like that :) I had blogged about lack of good feminine role models in our epics,which was why as a kid I could never appreciate those moralistic amarchitrakathas

useless said...

Errata :Read, a lack of good female role models

Vasu the terrible said...

I think there are lots of versions of Ramayana one looking it in Ravana's perspective too.

Ramayana represents more the cultural morality of its times and should be viewed in that sense alone. Afterall even during those times (whenever that is), this tale was as democratic as it could be. Isnt there a whole lot of interpretations ?

Also speaks of how some of those works arent popular now. Except for the one version of Rama's perspective. I thik its more a testimony of the blinkered views of today's world than anything to do about Indian culture. If you do want to study the true Indian culture, you have to look up tantra. Tantra was the biggest victim of the moral brigade.

vasu

Vinayak said...

Hi

That was a nice post. It brought memories of India ... my country... merA Bharath. But India is chancing, changing very fast. Not just foreign jobs, but cultures are also flowing in !

More thoughts at : Want divorce? Add extra sugar to tea
Spate of Divorces in India

http://o3.indiatimes.com/mera/archive/2006/03/25/565374.aspx

Regards
Vinayak

nina said...

ok politically incorrect guy: kiss my ass!!! really!!!
@megha: had like 2 lessons bout the mahabharatha this sem...really got me confused...but through it all really like draupadi...

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ doppelganger: thanks! And welcome to the turf!

@ Suryakannan: what bad traits does Sita have, her character does not go beyond being Rama's shadow! Seriously!

@ Saale: Sita isnt the protagonist of the story YOU have read, seen or heard. Again, my point was that the Ramayana is relative...it depends on the author or the poet. On the same note, I can say that you arent making that much sense either, basing your assumptions only on the version you have read.

@ eyefry: You dont sound Pseudo at all. You are very articulate and Ill check your posts out right now. And welcome to the turf!

@ drops of jupiter: Thats what I did! I denounced the Ramayana when I was 7!

@ Anna: good for you! I wish my exams were over....sigh....

@ Kutticuvaru: Hell yeah! It is SO a word:P

@ Confused: Here is an excerpt from Politically_incorrect_guy
@ Everyone else:

1.The basic purpose of Ramayana (IMHO) is to elucidate a simple view namely "To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine". Lord Rama's acts and behavior with regard to his wife, or his killing of Vali is never never justified - he is to be potrayed as an ideal example of how even a God , when undergoing a Human life and a human like existence, makes the same mistakes as normal mortals do...even God gets its own limitations when taking human life. This is the principal moral behind Ramayana. Remember we are talking about a God choosing to be a Man in some 5th or 50th century BC, an era when there was no IT, No Communications, No computers, no democracy, no human rights, no universal education, no industry, no electricity, and much of India was a wild jungle with all crazy creatures. The story of Ramayana should be analysed with all this in background. Im dead sure that a Lord Rama born in present times would be infinitely a better mortal than the so called progressive liberal wannabies out in our world who keep preaching ideologies to rest of us.

2.If a person wishes to dissect Ramayana with a political agenda, the end result of the analysis could always be tailored to whatever he or she wishes. This is true of anything. You can always enter a laboratory and decide on what results you want and then design the testing conditions to produce those results.

3. Finding no response to my take on divorce rates ,India and empowerment of women. Huh


This is what Freaky was addressing when he said "@ everyone else"
NOW do you understand!

@ Guptavati: Ill check your article out presently, and yes I did read the Manushi article...thats what inspired me to post this!

@ Vasu: I swear, Tantra has got such a horrible rep. from the culture police, hasnt it?

@ Vinayak: Thank you!

@ Nina: LOL @ Politically_incorrect_guy, kiss my ass:D
Mahabharat confuses you, I know. But Draupadi is perfect. And please read the 'Krishna-avatara' series by K.M.Munshi, if you want the Mahabharata to make sense. Its a WONDERFUL series I assure you.

politically_incorrect_guy said...

@Megha,

1.I neither seek publicity nor i want it. I have some opinions. Looks that none want to discuss on that.

2.Megha, i expected you to be more sensible and mature, but you have taken the easy way out (to abuse me by taking my own id and saying the worst swear words). Anyway i sincerely wish you good luck in your endeavour and this will be my last post.



2.Looks that you have taken the easy way of posting in my id two comments, which were not by me

@ Everyone,

I raised some viewpoints which differed from rest(Policitically incorrect) and none chose to respond or debate on that. But what i got is somebody faking my id and posting cheap nonsense ... and Megha telling that i look for publicity. This reflects fascist mindset to say the least - Fascism is not just about Hitler or Marcos, anyone who expects the whole world to think and opine and view the world as they do is a fascist. I choose to always differ from the crowd and that is what i mean by politically incorrectness.... so did many others from Jesus Christ to Mahatma Gandhi to Gloria Steinm (sorry if i spelled that wrong), but i expect decency. That is lacking over here... name calling is not what you do when you indulge in debates on topics of great social importance. Clearly, you all wish to synch with the crowd... so good luck to you all and good bye..

3. And for my profile not being public???? After some faker posting in my id, what else i can expect to make public? My bank accounts??? well anyway i am in process of (not still started yet, will take atleast some weeks) starting my own blog. Yes, you can visit it , it would be at this URL:

http://southindianneoconservative.blogspot.com/

Hope to start it up and keep running in short while. Anycase, good bye all and good luck to your Crowd thinking.

politically_incorrect_guy said...

Ya i am already up with my own blog and will post thoughts and views that differ from crowd thinking. Good Bye all.

http://southindianneoconservative.blogspot.com/

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Wow I abused you by using the worst swear words???
Youve been abusing me constantly.....and then you tell me Ive been abusing you??
Where?
Ive done nothing but dilligently ignore your statements.
So do you know what swear words are?
You really do crack me up...:D

politically_incorrect_guy said...

What does this mean?

LOL @ Politically_incorrect_guy, kiss my ass:D

And that fake post in my name which says i should castrate myself... excuse me, is this Netiquette?

If differing from your views in many or all ways is abusing you, then you definitely can consider to be an abuser. Yes, Maam megha, wishing you all the best.

you are free to ignore my words, but it really hurt me to see two posts ( 57 and 56, posted at 4:43PM and 5:08PM) ,which were not posted by by me... and it couldnt have happened without your knowledge or approval.

http://southindianneoconservative.blogspot.com/

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Ummm yeah....youre blind....Nina said that.....not me....and I was only laughing at what she said
And if a word like 'ass' is horrible swear word...youve NEVER been cursed at in your life.....
you sad sad creature....:)
and dude you have issues....I dont know what fake post youre talking about...and how can I post a fake post under your name?????
you need a good shrink(psychiatrist) pronto.

politically_incorrect_guy said...

You can have all your laughs... but those fake posts are really unacceptable. I did not post them and i am shocked to see them (roll up and see them the ). I have issues to discuss and you are not interested. Good luck to you. Bye.

http://southindianneoconservative.blogspot.com/

the wannabe indian punkster said...

good for you dude...cya.

romantic by twilight said...

it's sad that people throw reason to the air when somethings are hammered down their minds in the name of "tradition". if only that the ramayana had been just another book...

Anonymous said...

Hi, There are lots of cases of women's rights misused around the world.The blogger passage tells about yuor mental agnoy .this is not happening not only in India and also not only in the present centuary.If we read history and according to bible the world's first human murder is for the sake of a women. Belive .....Its ture.
when you watch a any animal channel (discovery,animal planet ect..) some male animals fight each other to prove strength to woo
a female counter part. That is nature.In all living things only the female are reproducting.Only female plants are fruit bearable.female cows give birth young ones.
But there is one and only exception is the SEA HORSE .yes. Only in this species the male gives birth to young ones. Not so ,only the women having the burden of carrying a child . All the living things can doing without complaining.
Nobody knows why the nature had done so .But we have to accept any how.
And about humans they are not differ from other living things except their genuis and species.

" Humans are also social animal".

In some aspects they behaive like animals.but just an animal with superior sense. That's all.

The most number of crime against women kind is sexual distrubences.
Yes I agree. with you. Mind that i am not trying to convenience you. Thats not my intention.there is no need for if.
Men are from mars.
Women are from Venus.
Thery are not the same and never the same till the earth's existence .But interstinglg they belong to same geneus and species.

From the very beging humans evolve Its the men took the response of protect the women and their child and also fooed them by hunting because of being stronger than women. He sees women as a symbol of sex pleasure for all these 5000 years or so.This thing is recorded in his gene.
And women take care of child and take care of home .Hence called home maker. She clearly understands why the child cries,what to do ,when to do etc... Regarding home management. This is recorded in her gene coding.
this is the ture fact. we can't change the mind of men or women over night.this is also true.We have to accept it.
These things are happenig even today.

Do you know why men want their beloved to virgins or virtue because he hated criticisim. They get uncontroled anger whem any body speaks illegal about his wife or mother. Its true.

so Men can't make relationshis with family when he has trouble in his job and
women can't do her job as her relations with her family is not good.

for Men Sex is visual oriented.
for Women it is mind oriented.
Men gets aroused when he see a women naked or even well dressed. But not in case of women.when she saw a man naked she begains to laugh.

So when a women is half-dressed then there starts trouble for men and also to women.

wheather you belive it or not. This is the fact. Truth is also bitter and hard to accept.
What to do?

Men undersatnds the life too early and
Women understands the life too late.
But nobody understands the life exactly.
It has been a previlage to be born as a human in this world.
Don't hate anybody or any thing.
Make the useful to others or atleast your well wishers.

know one thing.

"No man is a hero to his own wife and no women is a wife to her own hero."

and now too its me, the man who take the responsbility of make the women to get the agony out of mind. cope wiht the natue and world.

"If you want to change the world change yourself. She will change herself."

Peace in mind .
Calm in effort..
Joy in surrender...
have a nice fucture.....

som said...

Nice post,
But writer need to adopt realistic approach towards the Indian women of rural or semi urban areas,
Our nation is changing..........please do not biased about the Indian woman, i think An NRI woman is not perfect Indian woman, a lady living in India that may be from other country can be said Indian woman, as India means for this great and sacred soil of our mother.

And..........keep it up....
Many Thanks
som.patidar@gmail.com

som said...

Nice post,
But writer need to adopt realistic approach towards the Indian women of rural or semi urban areas,
Our nation is changing..........please do not biased about the Indian woman, i think An NRI woman is not perfect Indian woman, a lady living in India that may be from other country can be said Indian woman, as India means for this great and sacred soil of our mother.

And..........keep it up....
Many Thanks
som.patidar@gmail.com

the wannabe indian punkster said...

som: I was born and raised in India, if you think that the Ramayana does not influence Indian women, think again.
Nobody directly says "be like Sita"
But yet, an Indian woman is told repeatedly to be submissive to her husband, to pander to his wishes in one way or the other.
THAT is the influence of the Ramayana, not blatantly but discreetly.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ anon: I'll be nice to you this once, by ignoring your appalling grammar.
Grammatical murders aside, your comment did not make an iota of sense.
'Home-making' is recorded in the genes?
hahahahahahahahahahaha.......the monstrosity!

politically_incorrect_guy said...

@Megha,

Ramayana is not known outside India... in Africa, in Middle East, Pakistan, Japan, China, East Asia, rest of 3rd world, Srilanka, Latin America, people dont read or even know about it... but are women enjoying a better status there? Do men submit/pander to the wishes of women there? Is there no patriarchy over these places?

Maybe you can choose to ignore this one, but fact is, there is no connection between the so called oppressive patriarchy and Ramayana.

Nasha said...

Of course it still influences our thinking and tradition even though it was written thousands and thousands of years ago - all you have to do is watch a Hindi movie and see the shrieking damsel in distress (mostly decorative) being rescued by the oh-so-macho hero - does the plot sound familiar, anyone?

Nina Paley said...

I'm glad people are having these discussions about the Ramayana. Here are my two rupees.

WIP:
If Sita was powerful enough to life the dhanushbaand SINGLE-HANDEDLY, and remember Ravana couldnt lift in during the Swayamvar, he couldnt even move it.
My only explanation: Frankly I think the author conveniently forgot about the fact that Sita was actually powerful, choosing to focus on Rama instead. For if Sita was powerful, then how can you project Rama as noble and ideal. Sita has to be clingy and weak, it makes Rama look better.


In Sita's world, suppressing all her power in favor of her husband's was an act of loyalty and love. But Valmiki notes Sita's power: she informs Ravana she would burn him to ashes if not for her aesthetic vows, and the fact that Rama had not specifically instructed her to do so.

But where did all her 'strength' go when she was driven out of the kingdom by Rama while she was HEAVILY PREGNANT WITH HIS CHILDREN? When she was told to go through the 'Agnipariksha'after being tortured by Ravana? Why didnt she even SPEAK ONE WORD against Rama, for his silly decisions? Physical strenth is not the point here. Strenth to stand up for oneself while faced with blatant illtreatment, is what Im talking about.

Sita is a tragic heroine because she loves Rama so completely, she self-destructs. I don't think her behavior is worthy of emulation, but it does sum up a peculiar, powerful aspect of romantic love: persistent love in the face of the beloved's cruelty. This drama repeats itself over and over in real life; consider yourself lucky if you can't relate to it!

Sita could have argued with Rama, but that wouldn't have changed the fact she love-love-LOVED him. Actually Sita did argue with Rama just prior to their exile: she begged him to take her with, because she couldn't bear to be separated from him. Separation from Rama, in fact, was the only torture Sita couldn't bear, so her eventual banishment by Rama was unspeakably cruel. Still she managed to bear it, to raise Luv and Kush. Her last act, calling upon the Earth to swallow her, was an act of defiance against Rama, so it was inevitable her life would end. By not doing whatever Rama wished, she ceased to be Sita, and her time on Earth was up.

"Ideal" has more than one meaning - I interpret its application to Sita and Rama to mean "essence," as in Platonic Ideal. When people call Rama the ideal man, I translate to mean the essence of man; likewise Sita represents the essence of woman. Real men and women have both masculine and feminine traits; we need both traits to thrive. We have to be both active and passive, both stubborn and flexible, sometimes dominant and sometimes submissive. Rama was always dominant, and Sita was always submissive, and look how things worked out for them. I realize Sita is often invoked as a role model, but I don't think Valmiki intended her to be.

I actually agree with Politically Incorrect Guy's interpretation of the moral of the Ramayana:

The basic purpose of Ramayana (IMHO) is to elucidate a simple view namely "To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine". Lord Rama's acts and behavior with regard to his wife, or his killing of Vali is never never justified - he is to be potrayed as an ideal example of how even a God , when undergoing a Human life and a human like existence, makes the same mistakes as normal mortals do...even God gets its own limitations when taking human life.

Human life is so tough, even the gods screw up and suffer terribly when incarnated on Earth. There is no way to be right all the time, and no good deed goes unpunished. There's a poignant moment in Valmiki, when the pregnant Sita, banished by Rama, says, "I must have committed a terrible sin in a previous life, to deserve such suffering." Of course Sita hasn't committed any sin, in this or any other life (she's an avatar of goddess Laxmi, after all); but the experience of human heartbreak drives her to blame herself for her own suffering. For me, reading a story in which a goddess incarnate does this, has relieved me from blaming myself for my own suffering. That's only one of the many reasons I love the Ramayana. I actually think Valmiki was a feminist, because his narrative is so sympathetic to Sita, and so obviously paints Rama's treatment toward her as unjust.

P.I.G. is incorrect about the following, however:
Ramayana is not known outside India... in Africa, in Middle East, Pakistan, Japan, China, East Asia, rest of 3rd world, Srilanka, Latin America, people dont read or even know about it...

The Ramayana is mostly unknown in the Americas, Europe, and parts of Africa, but it is beloved in the rest of of the world. It's popular in Thailand, Indonesia, and much of Southeast Asia, and many parts of China. In fact the Ramayana may be the single most popular story on Earth.

kitkrash said...

wow! I read this all from beginning to end! It's an interesting discussion to say the least.

Both the Ramayana and Mahabharata are very deep and complex epics but how they have been interpreted over the course of time does lead to problems. (well maybe not the Mahabharata which exudes it's complexity unhibitivly.)

Today many people look at these stories as simple good vs. evil, but they never were.

I think Nina Paley really seems to understand it. btw, I really, REALLY liked your "Sita Sings the Blues" episodes -- beautiful, inspired and entertaining. I am sure if the Hindu Gods exist, they would be smiling at you.

Anonymous said...

Ram was NOT do-er. It was his duty as a rightful king to obey the will of his people and therefore, giving up his wife. And also if* he did not give up Sita, then do you think Sita chasity would still be under doubt today? Do you think Ram would still be known as a perfect king? Perhaps, the Raghu Dynasty would have also been broken.