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The plight of Sita and Indian women
The plight of Sita who was repeatedly asked to prove her chastity by her husband, Lord Rama is no different from the women in India today. We are asked by our elders to devote ourselves to our husbands and suffer the way Sita did, without committing any mistake. Times have changed and women need to stand up and claim their rights in this male-dominated society.

INDIA, A land of myths and legends, is considered one of the oldest civilizations along with Greece, Rome, China, Egypt, etc. but except from Indian civilization, all other ancient civilizations could not stand the blows of time and faded away. They are now only part of history books and as a part of scholarly expeditions.

In India, our thousands of years of history are still a part of every Indian household. Every day we listen to the stories of Ramayana and The Mahabharata and every child is aware of these stories and characters. Tyrants and attackers always tried to destroy our ancient history throughout the ages but never really succeeded. Our stories are still a part of our upbringing like they were thousands of years ago.

The various mythologies of India played a crucial role in shaping the present India and so the women in those mythologies. We worship and respect the women of the Indian mythology like Sita, Draupadi, Radha, etc. Let us take a look at the most respected woman in our mythology and in the Hindu religion, Sita, the devoted wife of Lord Rama who is regarded as the incarnation of supreme Lord Vishnu. Let's also take a look at her plight as a woman.

In India, mothers still tell their daughters to devote themselves to their husbands the way Sita did. But have we looked at Sita as just a human being and not a Goddess? If we look at her from this perspective, then we will notice that all her life she just suffered, mostly because of others. She dwelled in the forest for fourteen years for the sake of satisfying the male ego of her father-in- law, King Dashratha and husband Prince Rama. She was kidnapped from the forest because of the evil and lustful eyes of another male, The King of Lanka, Ravana.

Of course Rama fought for her and won her back. But after that, what he did was asked Sita to prove her purity. He asked her to go through the Agneepariksha to prove her purity as she was in the land of another male for one year. Sita went through the Agneepariksha and proved her purity. But was Rama pure, Sita could have asked him to prove his purity as he was also away from his wife for a year and was dwelling in various kingdoms.

Even after Rama accepted her back, her plight continued and she was abandoned to forest just because of a rumor. We hail Rama as a rightful and strong king but why he was rightful and strong only for his countrymen and not for his wife Sita who stood with him through every thick and thin. For him, the life of Sita just did not matter. What mainly mattered, was his own personal name and recognition. He did not take the manly course of defending his wife and stopping the rumors, which as a king he should have done and which as a husband, who was convinced of his wife's innocence, he was supposed to do.

Sita was abandoned in the forest to die but as luck favored her, she was saved by sage Valmiki who took her to his ashram where she gave birth to the twins of Rama, Luv and Kusha. It was Valmiki who gave protection and a place to live in along with her sons. During the next 12 years, King Rama never bothered to query about her whether she was dead or alive. Later, as the legend goes, King Rama reunited with his sons after the famous ashwamedha yagna.

But before taking Sita back into his life, Rama once again proclaimed, “I am aware that Sita is pure and chaste and Luv and Kusha are my sons. She went through the agneepariksha proving her purity, so I took her back. But people in my kingdom still had doubts in her, so as a rightful king and to keep the respect of my kingdom, I abandoned her. Hence, let Sita prove her purity once again and I shall accept her.’

Guess, it was enough for Sita as she suffered a lot without an iota of a mistake from her side and she said, “I never imagined of anyone except Rama even in my wildest dreams. So, let Mother Earth open and cover me. As I always loved Rama in words, in thoughts, and in deeds, let Mother Earth open and bury me!’  After these words, the Mother earth opened her arms and welcomed Sita. Heavenly flowers bestowed on Sita and she went forever in the lap of Mother earth, leaving her husband and sons behind.

This story implies that Sita rather preferred to die than returning back to Rama who treated her no good. It is the plight of Sita and the tragedy of most of the Indian women. In India, women are asked to behave like Sita only to live on the mercy of their husbands. Of course, the time has changed and with time many other things have also changed. But the plight of women still continues. Every day, we hear the news of dowry related killings, female foeticide, rape, domestic violence.

The women in India are still suffering just the way Sita suffered and her plight still continues. It’s the women who  have to break this chain; the women need to wake up and proclaim their rightfulness in this male-dominated society. You cannot be like Sita anymore. No more agneeparikshas to prove her purity and devotion because every day, women in India go through an agneepariksha of their own.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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