For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Hindu epic of the Ramayan, Sita is the caricature of what an Ideal Woman ‘should’ be, just as her husband Ram is designed to act like the Ideal Man according to various norms of Hinduism. Ideals of sexual chastity are given great importance throughout the epic. However, it’s her chastity that’s at stake, never his. She has to show her husband and the entire society at large that she is, after all, just another dutiful, subservient and spineless wife. She is banished even after proving her chastity. Seeing a pattern here? Sita is designed in a way that she is kept chromatically silent. She is created to serve, to bend, to follow and to keep her lips sewed up.
Of course, that is my interpretation of the Ramayan. You can say that and further disregard everything else I have to say. It wouldn’t be the first time that such a thing has happened. It is one of the most effective ways to silence anyone who doesn’t bow down to the bigger Empire — the Empire of patriarchy, of class hierarchy, of caste orders and of kyriarchy — and this won’t be the last time. However, I can’t be silent anymore. I’m an Indian woman in my 20’s, decades of silence has led me to this point. Where being silent is biologically impossible now, for one more moment of silence and my tongue will lash out. This blog has come out of an organic need and necessity to let myself uncoil, unfurl, unleash.
The reason Sita needs to speak, in me and in others, is that she too is heavy with silence; engulfed in Mother Earth’s womb as the epic dictates. What if Sita never wanted to leave, or stay? Who knows. If she wasn’t created by men, to please men and to serve men; she could have been more than just a woman destined to be set in stone. This is why she speaks today. Didn’t you hear? In this part of the world, stones speak too.