Sita Agni PareekshaTough question to answer. Sita has often been “interpreted” as a docile meek character who followed her husband to the end of the earth/forests. In return, aspersions were cast on her character and she was banished from Ram’s kingdom.

However interpretations are often just that. Here is another interpretation of Sita’s character.

The saints/politicians/rulers of the time may interpret the epic poem (Ramayan) by Valmiki, any-which way they want. The truth still remains. Sita was a smart and graceful lady. She was a strong woman in her own right, but without the anger and aggressiveness of Draupadi style of justice. Quiet strength and not aggression was her trademark. Lets take a quick look at Ramayan from this point of view.

Most people conjure up the image of Sita as the docile and meek woman (the chaste pati vrata). Many see her as the victim, oppressed, one who obeyed her husband’s commands, remained faithful to him, served her in-laws, had to prove her innocence, was sent away by her husband, raised her children alone, and ended alone.

Though an unhappy person, Sita never considered herself a victim. (Else she would have demanded justice from Ram.) Sita was a young woman who married according to parental authority, as per societal norms of her time, and found true love in her husband. She lived the life of luxury, as the cherished wife of prince of Ayodhya. 

When adversity struck her husband, she insisted quite vehemently to follow Ram where ever he went. Finally Ram bowed to his wife’s wishes and took her along with him to the forests. While there, she lived happily with her husband, and asserted her wishes and desires. So arose in Sita’s heart the desire to have the golden deer, that made her force her husband to go hunting for it. Point to be noted, Sita was strong enough to force her husband to fulfill her wishes.

True, that after that unfortunate events followed. She was kidnapped by Ravan and spent many years in misery under his imprisonment. While being imprisoned, Sita showed amazing strength of character. She showed patience, belief in her values and her husband, never bowing to the wishes of her jailer, Ravan.

Sita understood the responsibilities of Ram’s character. After Ram won the battle with Ravan, she gracefully met him (as instructed by Ram) in public. Later when aspersions were cast on her character by Ram’s subjects (due to her long imprisonment in Ravan’s palace), she understood Ram’s difficulties. Ram being the king was answerable to his subjects. She accepted his request to prove her innocence. She could have very well refused, but she didn’t.

This was followed by a very graceful separation between husband and wife. None of the fights or recriminations that mar separations and divorce in today’s relationships. She raised two well balanced sons’ after this, and never used her children as weapons against her husband.

The above story is indeed sad, but Sita is not a sad character. She was a woman, who enjoyed the luxury of her marriage, was faithful to her husband under all conditions, she served her in-laws, when needed separated gracefully from her husband, raised two well balanced sons, and then moved on.

I wish, today’s woman can see and incorporate her quiet strength in their lives. I wish I can! 

Please do read a more detailed analysis of the same by Anju Bhargava here.  The inspiration for this article.