To Sita


I shall not weep for you

l have no compassion for you

I believe

You are the cause

Of all our endless pain

Your chastity,

Your insistence on a one-man relationship,

Your jumping into the fire,

Your final disappearance into the bowels of earth

Your guardian Valmiki’s poem

Ramayana –

All these were foolish, thoughtless acts

To perpetuate an image

Only, the image has grown

Bigger than the imagee

A false image, a pernicious image

Your calculations were all wrong

You loved Rama

Followed him to the forest

Suddenly, you turned acquisitive

Desired to own the Golden Deer

Sent Rama to capture it

Blamed Lakshmana who tried to protect you

Playing with fire seems to be your favourite game

Couldn’t recognise Ravana in the guise of

An impostor


You arrived in this Asoka bower

Your prison and pyre to

Prove chastity (to whom?)

Rama’s messenger came,


He who shows respect to Rama

By covering his mouth.

Ready, to carry out all his dictates

You believed him too

Accepting Rama’s ring as an act of faith

You handed over your decorative hairpin to him

Then came the period of waiting,

Waiting for Rama to make his heroic appearance

To redeem you, smacking your lips in anticipation,

You foolish woman,

Will your brain ever be cleared of cobwebs

Rama came, with his monkey band

War, terrible war

Many people killed

Ravana, Kumbakarna, Indrajit

And many other brave warriors,

Didn’t you hear their widows’ heartrending wails

Did you, for a moment, think

That you can build your Ramarajya

Over the burnt ashes of Lanka,

Ignoring the widows’ wails

Well, you wire proven wrong

Your beloved,

Your darling,

Your living God,

The great Sreerama.

Told you

In public, in front of a big crowd

That had gathered to cheer him

As a victor

“Sita, you are impure, defield

I do not want you”

Like an insulted Sati,

You ordered for a fire to be prepared

And jumped Into it

But, you weren’t burnt to ashes

After all, you are Sita, not an ordinary woman

Even the fire cannot touch you

Did it occur to you that even Fire, the purifier

A male symbol and weapon of annihilation

Was rejecting you as an outcaste?

You came back as “pure” Sita,

At least, that’s what they told you

Gold, shining ten times more,

All impurities removed

Damn you. woman, you

And your unshakeable faith

Ram took you back

You went back to Ayodhya

As his wife. as his queen

All insults forgotten

In the melee of the coronation

Bat, for how long did the facade last

A common washerman spoke ill of you

Cast aspersions on your chastity

That was all he, Rama needed

To abandon you in a forest

A pregnant woman, the mother of his children

This time, he didn’t consult you

He just asked his brother to do the dirty job

Two washermen,

One who washed away the dirt from clothes

And the other, an expert

In detecting and cleaning

Character Impurities

They decided your fate,

No court, no defense

An arbitrary, patriarchal decision

Afterwards, Rama performed the horse sacrifice

To prove his kingly might

This time he called you back

Or was asked to call you back

Maybe, to fulfil the ritual wifely obligations,

Eventually, he settled down

With a golden replica of you near him

Even gold melts when fire is applied

But the hard hearted Rama

Sought solace in kingly justice

You were called to the court

To once again publicly declare your purity

This was too much even for you

You cried out to your mother,

The Earth Mother, seeking protection

She came, after all she is a mother

Then you disappeared into the depths of the Earth

That marks the end of your story


Those who threw you Into the blazing fire

Or exiled to the forest, a prey for wild animals


That you are one of the five

Celebrated‘ virgins

Uttering your name, they said would pave the way.

For salvation from sins

What cruel propaganda,

You, a failure of a woman painted

As a role model

Today you are a respectable woman

Not a mere victim

Because, even after all that happened

The inequities, the injustices

You did not protest

Not for yourself,

But for the clan of women,

The future of womanhood

Instead, you escaped and hid in your mother’s womb

If that was silent protest,

It was just puerile

All you did was, kept your image

As a traditional, unprotesting, submissive


The world forgave you

Restored you as the ideal of womanhood

Punished in life for lack of chastity

Deified in death for purity

What is truth, what is fiction,

Even today,

ln the name of Sati and you

How many women, my people

Jump into the fire and get burnt

Just to preserve the idea of chastity

How can you see all that

Sleeping in comfort

On the breasts of your mother!

What a fate you have left for us, women


On the one hand admonitions and

Exhortations to be chaste

Forgetting all other loves.

On the other, suspicion, recrimination

Punishment even if you remain chaste

We always live for a public image

Not for ourselves

Another drama goes on side by side,

There are people who fight for Ayodhya,

For Rama, the impeccable,

Those who gain peace and comfort

Uttering the name of Rama


No one remembers you

People see you as a symbol

Of Rama’s one-wife policy

We are the ones who suffer the consequences

Of your lack of backbone


I have no compassion for you,

Not even respect

Your name of your husband Rama’s name,

The name of your story, Ramayana

It is not enough to rewrite them,

Enough of intellectual garbage,

Enough of interpretations,

Seeking “Sakthi” in “Yukthi”

The whole memory has to be wiped out

Not a temporary amnesia

But, an all-engulfing Pralaya

To start afresh on a clean slate

Then, and then only can we

Women of Bharata’s domain, get our release

Then alone can we be ourselves

Woman with no baggage of the past

Translated by the author from Malayalam

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