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Book Review: Sita- Warrior of Mithila


The story of a trained warrior, Sita, who also is the Princess-Prime Minister of Mithila and chosen to be the next Vishnu- the transformer- who opts to partner with another Vishnu candidate, Ram, by marrying him but is abducted before is able to put any plans into action.


Review

The world is going crazy reading and reviewing the books shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and I have just finished reading Amish' Sita- Warrior of Mithila. I had seen it being talked about on social media in the feminist circles but did not have much desire to read it. But the truth of the matter is that I did get down to it. I think the cover clinched it for me. So back to the Warrior (I like the omission of the word princess) Sita.

The book Sita is as well know a fictionalised account of the leading lady of Valmiki's Ramayan. In this world of Amish's, there are no Gods or unknown powers. He has managed to humanise everyone. From the trio of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh to Devi. He gives them the human body and characteristics and if you have read the Shiva trilogy then you know that he also lends them conflicts that you and I face.

It goes to his credit that he pays utmost respect to the natural boundaries, regions and writes almost lovingly about various physical aspects of our country. I know a bit more about my country's past and present heritage, thanks to him. He tries to weave in more action in Sita's story than there was in his previous trilogy and you almost feel as if you are watching scene from an action thriller as characters run, hide, attack, defend and run.

Sita is found by Queen Sunaina and King Janaka of Mithila as they return from meeting Kanyakumari (a person and not place)with respect to  a water problem that their kingdom is facing. A vulture dies protecting the baby from wolves in the jungle from where she is then taken to the palace. She grows up, is sent to study, meets and makes friends with other characters like Jatayu, 'Hanu' bhaiya via his cousin Radhika and in course of time chosen by the plotting Vishwamitra to be the next Vishnu. Sita runs the Mithila as the Prime Minister after her mother's death. A swayamvar  is organised at the right time by her own insistence where she wants Ram to come and be chosen as her husband. Like in a Hindi movie the bad guy Ravana also turns up, (we are only given hints how) and all hell breaks loose leading in a way to the 14 year vanvaas and then Sita's abduction from Panchvati.

Amish lures you to read his next with two threads: the enmity between ex friends Vashishtha (who is the Guru of Ayodhya princes and wants either Ram or Bharat to be chosen as the Vishnu) and  Vishwamitra as well as Sita's birth.

Some of it is entertaining but then it gets repetitive and both these facts for which I just praised writer make you (made me) skip a few pages to get on with the story. It could be attributed to the fact that he has not much to do and say in his this book. We all know the story of the queen and there probably is a limit to which it can be fictionalised.

This is the feeling that I had got in the last part of the Shiva trilogy (The Oath of the Vayuputras) which after the glorious The Immortals of Meluha (which was brilliant in terms of imagination, imagery and story) and The Secret of Nagas also sounded repetitive and dragged endlessly.

Anyway the two major answers that hopefully he will reveal in the next should be good reasons to but it, a worthy set of reason though I am not sure.

Title: Sita- Warrior of Mithila
Author: Amish
Genre: Myth
Pages: 376
Price: 350
Publisher: Westland
Language: English
Rating: 2.5/5


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