Monday, January 12, 2015

Urmila’s Resolve: a review of Sita’s Sister





This book was reviewed by Trisha Ray.

The Ramayana is one of the oldest and oft reinterpreted stories in the world. Author Kavita Kane shifts the focus to Sita’s sister, King Janak’s firstborn Urmila. Urmila is feisty, fights for what she wants and fiercely protective of her elder sister. She is a complete contrast to the demure Sita. Sita’s Sister is a glimpse into her struggles to keep her family together circumstances split them apart and their loyalties are tested.

Urmila (or Mila as the sexy serious Lakshman calls her) has long been deemed the forgotten heroine of the Ramayana. She stayed behind as the man she loved left to protect his brother in exile. In some versions, the Goddess Nidra grants her wish and put her into a deep slumber in Lakshman’s stead. I, however, prefer Kane’s interpretation. Rather than simply falling asleep for 14 years (which honestly sound like the best thing in the world), Urmila helps Shatrugana with affairs of the state and prevents Ayodhya from falling into anarchy.

One of the biggest issues I have had with Ramayana is the uni-dimensional portrayal of the women- they are either pure and virtuous or evil and scheming. Sita’s Sister doesn’t abide by these character tropes. Instead the reader gets a nuanced and complex reading, especially of the often ignored women. We see Kaikeyi, Sumitra, Urmila and Mandavi in a new light. These are all women trying to be good, dutiful wives but they are betrayed repeatedly by those they love. Kane also doesn’t fail to emphasise that they were all accomplished individuals in their own right, learned and brave.

“Does the man have no duty toward his wife and mother? You may be the best of princes, the perfect sons, the ideal brothers, probably the ideal king too, but never the good husband!”

The structuring of the story is a bit uneven, where the two month courtship covers half the book but the 14 year exile is covered in a few chapters, but I can’t really blame the author for that since complete accounts of Urmila’s life would’ve been hard to come by. I am also not overly fond of the lengthy descriptions of Urmila’s curvaceous body and Lakshman’s dark brooding looks (and the slightly clichéd descriptions of love-making) but again, Sita’s Sister isn’t meant to be a romance.


What I truly did enjoy were those moments when Urmila would get pissed off with the status quo. She is portrayed not only as stunningly beautiful, but fiercely intelligent. She salvages Sita’s Swayamvar after Parashurama threatens Ram for breaking the bow, she manages to get the scheming Manthara exposed and justly punished and slowly brings the broken family together.

Sita’s Sister is a good read, with many great moments for feminism. It is a scathing critique of the subservient role women were expected to play, even in royal families. It is also, above all, a reminder that these people, elevated to the role of Gods and Goddesses, were ultimately human. They were far from perfect, they also doubted themselves, and they too struggled with their inner demons. Ram, for all his perfection, sent his wife unwittingly to her death. The great King Dashrath was torn by paranoia, the regal Kausalya was resentful, Queen Kaikeyi insecure. 



Sita's Sister is a Rupa publication, 2014
[This review was commissioned by Rupa Publications. Views are Trisha Ray's own.]


74 comments:

  1. I've read an earlier book by Kane 'karna's Wife' and enjoyed it. This seems in the same league. Thanks for the review. Will go get it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thats a really good review :-) Will try to get this book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have read Karna's wife and for some reason enjoyed it even more than Sita's Sister. I do like the fact that Kavita Kane does not treat her characters as Gods and Goddesses but like mere mortals with emotions. Liek Trisha said I like the way teh writer portrays Urmilla with not only a lot of intelligence but also as someone who has the gumption to stand up and speak her mind !
    Thanks Trisha for the lovely review !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read her previous book, but if her treatment of characters is just as good as it was in this one, I may go get it :)

      Delete
  4. With all the events around, honestly, I have no appetite for books that have anything to do with religion.
    Regardless, you have a sharp eye and a nuanced pen Trisha. Always a pleasure reading you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No no, this book isn't about the religion but about her reading of the characters. You may still like it :)

      Delete
    2. Okay, will try it after I finish Gone Girl. And I feel the same way about unidimensional portrayal. Our tele serials still do it unlike other international sitcoms.

      Delete
  5. did not enjoy Karnas wife. This seems to be similar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't comment on her previous work, but I quite enjoyed this one.

      Delete
  6. you know i had no clue even of SIta having a sister, so this is very interesting. Also I find a lot of stories are written for the sake of it .

    Most of the stories are of men.. but one needs to also know what happened ot the women, who were left behind, I think they did some amazing work and yet no one knows ..

    seems to be a good read

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! It gives readers a new perspective on the well know characters, plus it sheds light on the often-ignored ones.

      Delete
  7. It sounds interesting, though not very surprising. After all, the flaws in Rama was a discussion for many decades and the rest of the characters definitely have shades of grey! Nevertheless, picking up a lesser known character and making her the central character certainly makes it worth a read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. I do appreciate her focus on the female characters though, especially emphasising on the fact that they were all learned people with their own long list of achievements.

      Delete
  8. Good review.. motivates one to read the book.Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds interesting ! Thanks for the review. Wasn't aware of Sita's sister.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome! And do read it- though not a mind-shattering one, it was a pleasant read.

      Delete
  10. "Sita's Sister" sounds like an interesting read. Knowing Urmila would be great. Will try to get a copy :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is that a lot of people aren't aware of Urmila or her importance. The title was probably chosen to catch the casual browser's attention.

      Delete
  11. You are welcome to view my tribute to you at
    http://matheikal.blogspot.in/2015/01/thanks-rekha.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is through solving problems correctly that we grow spiritually. We are never given a burden unless we have the capacity to overcome it. If a great problem is set before you, this merely indicates that you have the great inner strength to solve a great problem. There is never really anything to be discouraged about, because difficulties are opportunities for inner growth, and the greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity for growth…

    ReplyDelete
  13. In this article at the end some said ram sent his wife to exile this decision is not ram's it's king ram's decision and by doing this he swiftly shifts the blame on sita to towards him as a cruel man and break free sitas blame please understand

    ReplyDelete
  14. In this article at the end some said ram sent his wife to exile this decision is not ram's it's king ram's decision and by doing this he swiftly shifts the blame on sita to towards him as a cruel man and break free sitas blame please understand

    ReplyDelete
  15. Got to pick up one of kane's book and it was so awesome. Love his work!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Microsoft office setup is the software setup file with this setup file you can install on your computer and some of the supported device to use Microsoft office.
    www.office.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  17. Norton is one of the most reliable antivirus providers in the market. Norton is delivering top rated protection from mobile devices and computers. Norton has 3 antivirus packages
    norton.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  18. McAfee have the complete set of features which can protect your digital online and offline life of the computing devices, and it not only help you to protect it but also it can maintain the stability of your computer, increase the speed with inbuilt PC Optimisation tool.
    mcafee.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  19. If your PC is having a slow performance and you are facing problems due to this, then we can provide a solution to that. at TechSalvation, we have a highly experienced team for resolving the issues related to the slow performance of computers and laptops.
    avira tech support | avira support number | avira refund

    ReplyDelete
  20. www.Norton.com/Setup
    Norton Internet Security | Ransomware protection
    Get protection from Cyberattacks, Malware, trojan and all other online threats ,Get Norton setup with the help of product with get in touch with Norton Support Expert Norton.com/Setup

    ReplyDelete
  21. McAfee Software has Advanced Technology Which detect ransomware Malware threat which compromise the System leads to hacking email accounts, social media accounts, banking details etc McAfee is important software to installed on your computer with help of McAfee Support experts , McAfee Customer Support is reliable service which give Total satisfaction

    ReplyDelete
  22. IF your MS Office - Office.com/setup Product key has expired and you want to buy new product key then you visit our website for the new product key. Just visit and fill some previous details then after you get new key, If you have no previous details then don`t worry we will help you just call us on our toll-free number - 1-877-220-8885 otherwise visit our website: http://www.office-comsetup.net/setup-install.html

    ReplyDelete
  23. McAfee provides security for all sorts of users. They supply services and products for home and office at home, enterprise businesses with over 250 workers, and small organizations with under 250 employees, and also venture opportunities.

    mcafee.com activate
    mcafee com activate
    mcafee activate

    ReplyDelete

  24. We are providing help and support for Microsoft office Setup and activation. Call us or email us the error or problem, our one of the expert contact you with the suitable perfect solution. Get the MS Office application suite and as per your need and see how it is easy to work with Microsoft Office.


    Office.com setup
    www office com setup
    Install Office

    ReplyDelete
  25. MS Office setup is very easy to install, download and redeem. Use of MS Office is also simple and the user can learn the use of it easily. Online help option is also available in all application of the MS Office which provides an instant guideline.
    office.com setup
    www.office.com
    www office com setup

    ReplyDelete
  26. Before you plan to install the Office 2016 or Office 365 on your device be it a Computer, Laptop, Mobile Phone or a Tablet, you are required to take few important steps on of them is to remove any existing Office installations from your PC. Just like the previous Office products, Office 2016 & 365 will conflict with the previously installed versions. So, it becomes necessary to remove the previous office files properly.


    setup.office.com
    www.office.com/setup
    office.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. To Setup retail card please visit official website Www.Office.Com/Setup. Office Retail Cards allow you to download your security product from the internet instead of installing from a CD, ensuring recent versions.


    www.office.com/myaccount
    www.office.com/setup
    Microsoft Office product

    ReplyDelete
  28. Enter Key for office.com/setup, after purchasing Office from visit office.com/setup, sign in to your www.office.com/setup account then enter product key for Office Setup.

    ReplyDelete
  29. norton.com/setup Online Help – Step by Step guide for Norton Setup, Download & complete installation online. We are providing independent support service if in case you face problem to activate or Setup Norton product.norton.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  30. mcafee.com/activate Online Help :– Step by Step guide for McAfee Activate, Download & complete installation online. We are providing independent support service if in case you face problem to activate or Activate McAfee product. Just fill the form below and will get in touch with you as quick as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  31. office.com/setup Online Help – Step by Step guide for office Setup, Download & complete installation online. We are providing independent support service if in case you face problem to activate or Setup office product.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Looking for Aol Support? Call now on toll free number to get instant 24/7 email support AOL, AOL Mail Technical Support, Click here for more information.aol mail support

    Support For Adobe at Contactassistance.com is an online technical support company. We provide trustworthy tech support and services for the third party products.adobe support


    We provide Outlook customer service phone number or on Chat ,Outlook tech support phone number for recover outlook password recovery and other issues.microsoft outlook support


    ReplyDelete

  33. Webroot.com/safe – www.webroot.com/safe | Activate Webroot Com Safe
    Webroot.com/safe – Activate Your Webroot Com Safe on your laptop, PC, Smartphone etc & secure your devices. Let’s Get Started with Webroot Safe at www.Webroot.com/safe & Activate Webroot Safe.
    Webroot.com/safe

    ReplyDelete
  34. setup.office.com

    Before you plan to install the Office 2016 or Office 365 on your device be it a Computer, Laptop, Mobile Phone or a Tablet, you are required to take few important steps on of them is to remove any existing Office installations from your PC. Just like the previous Office products, Office 2016 & 365 will conflict with the previously installed versions. So, it becomes necessary to remove the previous office files properly.


    setup.office.com
    www.office.com/setup
    office.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. www.office.com/myaccount

    To Setup retail card please visit official website Www.Office.Com/Setup. Office Retail Cards allow you to download your security product from the internet instead of installing from a CD, ensuring recent versions.


    www.office.com/myaccount
    www.office.com/setup
    Microsoft Office product

    ReplyDelete
  36. norton.com/setup Online Help – Step by Step guide for Norton Setup, Download & complete installation online. We are providing independent support service if in case you face problem to activate or Setup Norton product.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Roku.com/link or Roku provides the simplest solution to all your entertainment requirements. If you are game enthusiasts or like to binge watch TV series or movie, Roku is there for you. It is undoubtedly number one choice for entertainment seekers. With the wide range of top channels associated with the company like HBO, Netflix, BBC, youTube, HULU and many more, Roku showcase company’s ability to provide high-quality content. It is also very easy to use and activate, and anybody can do that easily, which probably is the reason why you came here.

    roku.com/link

    ReplyDelete
  39. Brother-printer-support is one of the best Brand available which offers a wide range of Brother Printers available in the market which may involve different features including high-end printing, Ethernet/Wireless Networking, LED/Color Laser Printing, White Laser Printers, LED Multiple Function Printers, LED All in one Printers and Brother Duplex Printers. Brother Printers have the friendly interface which is easy to use. There are some glitches as users still face issues or errors while installing or other Brother Printer Technical issues.

    brother printer support

    ReplyDelete
  40. McAfee is an antivirus which is available worldwide for devices like Computer, Laptop or Smartphones, and McAfee is one of the best 10 Antivirus according to all reviews in last 10 years. McAfee Security is used to secure the devices from Trojans, Attacks, Malware or any other activities which may harm the devices or network. McAfee requires the minimum requirements on the devices in order to work successfully which are mentioned on the manufacturer website.

    McAfeecom/activate

    ReplyDelete
  41. Download and install or reinstall Install Office 365

    You can download install and reinstall install office 365 from our website just visit our website then after filling some details then after we will activate your window by online.

    Redeem your Product key here: http://www.office-comsetup.net/setup-install.html

    ReplyDelete
  42. Microsoft Access is a Database Management System (DBMS) from Microsoft that combines the relational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and software development tools.www.office.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  43. Webroot Support - Call 1-844-456-8733 (US/CA) for Webroot Installation, Activation, Configuration, Billing, Renewal or any other queries. Contact our Webroot technical support to get Best Webroot Customer Service\
    webroot support

    ReplyDelete
  44. dell 1-844-456-8733 (US/CA) any Installation, Drivers, Repair, Errors and many more. Get Online Resolution anytime by Technical Support.
    dell printer support

    ReplyDelete
  45. Epson Printer Support - Get Quick Setup for Wireless Epson Printer Install by calling
    Epson Printer Support number 1-844-456-8733 (US/CA) Toll-free.
    Epson Printer Support

    ReplyDelete
  46. HP Printer Support - Call HP Technical Support Phone Number 1-844-456-8733 (US/CA) or 01444 39 0119 (UK) for any HP Printer related issues.
    hp Printer Support

    ReplyDelete
  47. Garmin Download at www.garmin.com/express. Register, Update and sync your Garmin Express today and get started with your Garmin Maps.
    garmin.com/express

    ReplyDelete
  48. Brother Printer Support - - Brother Printer Support 1-844-456-8733 (US/CA) any Installation, Drivers, Repair, Errors and many more. Get Online Resolution anytime by Technical Support.
    Brother Printer Support

    ReplyDelete
  49. Microsoft office setup is the software setup file with this setup file you can install on your computer and some of the supported device to use Microsoft office.
    www.office.com/setup
    office.com/setup
    office com setup

    ReplyDelete
  50. Office.com/setup - Instructions for Office Setup Installation with the help of this Blog. Get the installation help for Microsoft Office Follow the bearing on the page. you can download and introduce Office, Help with installation process of Windows 10, Installation process for Office 365 Home
    For Installation Help Please Visit...
    www.office.com/setup
    office setup
    Install Microsoft office

    ReplyDelete
  51. Office 365 is actually a Web based version of Microsoft Office Suite. It was basically designed for large scale sectors & organizations for Business purposes.

    office.co/setup

    ReplyDelete
  52. Office.com/setup - Instructions for Office Setup Installation with the help of this Blog. Get the installation help for Microsoft Office Follow the bearing on the page. you can download and introduce Office, Help with the installation process of Windows 10, Installation process for Office 365 Home
    For Installation Help Please Visit...
    www.office.com/setup
    office setup

    ReplyDelete
  53. Mail.aol.com - Login to your AOL E-mail
    by visiting Mail.aol.com and you may also do Aol Sign
    in, Aol Sign up, Aol Password Reset etc.

    Website:- http://mailaolcom.net/
    Mail.aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  54. www.webroot.com/safe
    www.webroot.com/safe - Webroot is very
    well known for its immense security from the spyware,
    viruses. In order to protect your system from the
    spyware or any other cyber attacks, you can download
    webroot security tool online from www.webroot.com/safe.

    Website:- http://www.webroot-com-safe.us/

    ReplyDelete
  55. Garmin.com/express - Register, Setup,
    Update and Manage your Garmin Devices Online by visiting
    www.garmin.com/express. Install Garmin Express
    with the help of Garmin.com/Express.

    Website:- http://garmincomexpress.org/

    ReplyDelete
  56. Roadrunner Email is a great web mail system
    that enable you to access your account using a PC, laptop
    or smartphone. Many individuals use Roadrunner email
    service for their professional and personal use.

    Website:- http://contactassistance.com/roadrunner-support/

    ReplyDelete
  57. Comcast Corporation is an American Global
    Telecommunication that offers cable television and
    broadcasting. In addition, they also provide services
    like internet, telephone and other wireless services.

    Website:- http://contactassistance.com/comcast-support/


    link Comcast Support

    ReplyDelete

Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...