Friday, 13 November 2015
PANCHA KANYA THE POWER FULL FIVE WOMEN’S OF IN INDIAN EPIC’S ---Continued from
PANCHA KANYA THE POWER FULL FIVE WOMEN’S OF IN INDIAN EPIC’S
Janaka, the King of Mithila, as is well known, found Sita while his fields were being ploughed. She is the wonderful daughter of the earth, stable, forgiving, patient and pure. The story of her kidnapping by Ravana and her suffering at the hands of the people of Ayodhya is read every day in millions of homes. It continues to inspire devotion and compassion among all women. Briefly, Sita, the Princess of Mithila, was married to Ram, the Prince of Ayodhya. Soon after, she chose to follow her young husband into the forest, when he was banished for fourteen years by his stepmother. Ravana kidnapped her during this forest sojourn. A bloody war followed across the sea and she returned to Ayodhya with Rama for his coronation.
Alas, because of the suspicions of his subjects about her purity, Ram banished the pregnant Sita once again to the forests on the banks of the Ganga. Here, she lived in the Ashram of Sage Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana, where she bore her twin sons Luv and Kush.
When she was finally re-united with Ram, she chose rather to return to her mother, the earth, than go back with her husband as his empress. In this last defiant gesture, she showed her inner strength and rejected the continued injustice she had suffered all her life. Yet, Indian men are quick to say that she asked for all the suffering she was subjected to because she did not stay within the Lakshman Rekha drawn for her protection by Lakshmana, her devoted brother-in-law.
She, they say, was punished by fate for overstepping the authority of the men who were her familial lords. Today’s women are similarly expected to observe the unseen but clearly delineated Line of Control drawn for them by the men in her life. Her career, her social activities and her behaviour must be governed by strong male-designated social and familial rules. If she disobeys these rules, trauma and abandonment become her certain fate.
2 Draupadi was the copper-toned beauty born of fire. Fiery, gorgeous and strong-willed, Draupadi was born out of her father’s prayer for revenge against his enemies. She personified this quality throughout her life.
Her burning passion for revenge against the Kauravas, who disrobed her in a full assembly in the presence of her five husbands, caused the epic war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas in Kurukshetra. Draupadi’s oath that she would tie her long tresses only with bloodstained hands is symbolic of her personality. Her anguish at being disrobed and humiliated in the Kaurava court led to her curse that a country where women are reduced to such ignominy, would never prosper.
Even today, many Indians believe that women’s anguish and their cries against monumental injustice have left India with centuries of suffering, slavery and bloody conflicts. Draupadi’s anguish and anger are a commonly used theme in many dance ballets, music renditions and poetic compositions in all Indian languages. Famous research scholars like Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy and Dr. Irawati Karve, who believe that gentleness and vengeful anger are just two sides of Indian womanhood, have juxtaposed her character with that of Sita.
Here too, orthodox Indians and researchers believe that Draupadi asked for the humiliation piled upon her because she not only rejected Duryodhana as a suitor but ridiculed him by calling him “the blind son of a blind father”. Most Indian women would agree that like this passionate heroine of the Mahabharat, millions of women are publicly humiliated and even raped as a punishment for challenging the male will or for ‘talking back’ at a man. Many men are known to use violence against wives merely because they ‘back-answer’ them!
3 Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is associated with the element of water, turbulent on the surface yet deep and silent in her spiritual quest. The beautiful Mandodari tolerated the misdeeds of Ravana till his death. Ravana, it is said, abused numerous women and kidnapped Vedavati, daughter of a sage, whom he wooed with vigour till she, in disgust killed herself, saying that she would be reborn as Sita, who would be the cause of his annihilation. Mandodari was a woman of character, virtue and relentless faith and tried her best to make Ravana mend his ways, though she was unsuccessful in the end. Mandodari’s fate is shared by millions of women today. A staunchly male-oriented society overlooks the affairs and illicit liaisons of a husband and expects the wife to love and honour him despite his misdemeanors.