Mythology has always been a part of our life. Almost everyone will have at least very slight knowledge of a popular mythology of their region. India has in its hand two very famous epics, the Ramayan and the Mahabarath. All these epics and myths always hold a list of norms specially made for women. Women are portrayed in a way the male society wants them to be. Kavita Kane, On the other hand had other idea to portray the epic from these women’s point of view.
Sita in Ramayan is a well- known character as she is the main character of the epic. But, is she the only female character? The answer is a big NO. There are still female characters who gets affected by the major events of the epic. Kavita Kane’s books shower lime light on the supporting female characters who deserves attention but left unnoticed. Urmila, Sita’s sister is one such character. When Sita followed her husband to spend fourteen long years in forest Lakshman accompanied them without any discussion with his wife, Urmila. How will be her inner thoughts? What was her actual reaction to Lakshman’s reaction? How did she manage things in their exile period?
The story begins with Urmila’s childhood and how she was overshadowed by Sita, adopted daughter of king Janak and queen Sunaina. It was Urmaila’s right to be called as Janaki and Mythili as she was the biological daughter of the royal couple but she never felt jealous even once which made her a greater character. Even more Sita is not just her sister but her whole world. When Kaikeyi called Urmila the real Janaki and Mythili she responded “I am neither. It is Sita who is called Janaki and Mythili, Mother” (Sita’s Sister 61). Lakshman’s love for Ram is always celebrated. But Urmila’s love for Sita is left unspoken.
The stereotypical portrayal of woman can never be found in the novel. Urmila was exhibited as a great scholar, as an artist as a great woman who took care of everything in the palace from cooking to administration when she was left alone by her husband. Urmila was absolutely not okay with her husband’s decision but she had no choice but to say yes. Urmila loved her husband to a great extent. She married him even though she knew she will always be a secondary in his life. When such a man left her for his brother she said, “I helped him follow his heart and his greater good” (Sita’s sister 118) But she questioned Bharath when he announced that he would spend fourteen years in Nandigram leaving Mandavi behind.
Urmila always played a great role as a daughter-in-law. When Bharath announced his decision, it was Urmila who brought him to his senses. “If you go, Shatrughna won’t remain here either. So how will it turn out if the four princes of Kosala reside in the forest as hermits while the kingdom is headless, at the mercy of enemies and chaos?” (Sita’s Sister 120). The sacrifice Sita made by leaving behind luxury of royal palace was great. But Urmila’s sacrifice was hard. She, a new bride, stayed away from her husband for fourteen long years.
Though Urmila was intelligent, sensitive, critical, and passionate woman she was not celebrated as much as Sita, who is believed to be a complete example of perfect woman. Kavita Kane’s Sita’s sister brings out the question why only few characters are celebrated and many secondary female characters are not given much importance. The answer to which can also be derived from the same book. We are shown what we want to see and not much. The society has some rules and regulations for hoe a woman should be and only characters that comes under such circle are shown and female characters who are strong, independent, brave and intelligent are shown as a passing cloud. Urmila, though is a passing cloud, is capable to shower rain drops that can revive life.
Kane, Kavita. Sita’s Sister. India: Rupa Publication, 2014.Print.