After having read the Shiva Trilogy by Amish, my natural pick should have been Scion of Ishkavu, the first installation of the Ram Chandra series. Instead, I ended up with the book of Sita from the shelves in the book store at the airport only because of the cover. The picture depicted in the cover displayed a tough and toned warrior woman unleashing terror on her attackers. And this got me curious – I wanted to know more about this version of Sita.
Author: Amish Tripathi
Pages : 384
Format : Paperback
Publisher : Westland Press
Kindleandkompass rating : 4/5
The Sita in Amish’s fiction/fantasy version of Ramayana is quite unlike the idolized version of Sita known to us from the stories heard from childhood. From being adopted by the powerful queen of Mithila Sunaina, to becoming Ram’s wife, the Sita in this story is a very capable woman, highly intelligent, adept in stick fighting, a sharp shooter of bow and arrows and full of ideas and high intelligence that befit the prime minister of the kingdom.
The bond between Sunaina and her 2 daughters, her death and Sita’s ascension as the prime minister of Mithila forms the first half of the book. Sitas powerful rule backed by the Malayaputras and their chief Great Rishi Vishwamithra after identifying her as their Vishnu also sees her fighting with internal struggles of losing her mother, her emotional conflicts and self-doubts on her capability as the next Vishnu and trying to help her kingdom grow from a very weakened state after Raavan’s trade duty impositions on the Sapt Sindhu belt. She executes reforms and changes to strike a balance between the rich and the poor, makes her kingdom self-reliable by implementing a host of measures and takes out enemies with her wits and bravery. She is also portrayed as a very efficient student, an adoring sister to Urmila, a daughter who made her mother proud and an efficient prime minister of the state.
The plot takes a twist when Guru Vasistha and the Vayuputhras under him recognize the crown prince of Ayodhya, Ram, as their next Vishnu. Given the unnatural and unspoken coldness between Guru Vasishtha and Guru Vishwamithra, even Sita’s well laid plans to work with Ram as partners may not work. The Sita Swayamvar has been portrayed beautifully in the book as Ram and Sita fall in love and get married. However, they irk the wrath of Raavan in the process and pays a heavy price that leads to the 14 years of exile of the newly married prince and princess. The book ends with the abduction of Sita by Raavan during their 13th year of exile.
This book is probably a modernized version of Sita and hence may earn some ire from folks who know the actual Ramayana. There are slight variations in the story to keep the suspense up and few unanswered questions which are probably left for the remaining books in the series. The book does not miss the important historical facts and figures and lays out a map of ancient India for better understanding of the plot. A few statements here and there and usage of modern English by our Ramayana characters may take new readers of Amish by surprise, but to those with Shiva Trilogy on their book shelves, this would not be anything new.
What definitely attracted us was the portrayal of Sita as a tough woman ready to take on the world. This is quite different from the historical version of Sita who almost always prays on her husband, waits for others to take actions and follows directions given to her without questioning. The Sita of Mithila in this book is a fierce-some warrior, highly intelligent and the next probable Vishnu.
We will continue waiting for the next book in the series to see how the plot develops. For now, kudos to Amish for continuing to keep his fans hooked to his modern version of Ramayana.