Sita’s Ramayana

Just came across one book which has been written in a very interesting style – “Patua” drawings by the artist Moyna Chitrakar of West Bengal, interspersed with texts by a new age author Samhita Arni from Bangalore. The book is called “Sita’s Ramayana” which retells the story of Ramayana through the voice of Sita – one of the main protagonists of the oldest Indian epic.
           It’s a highly graphic book with texts being there just to let the readers not familiar with the Ramayana understand what the painting depicts.I’d rather have called the book “Sitaayana” – meaning the journey of Sita,  instead of “Sita’s Ramayana”!
                 The story of Ramyana originally was spread through storytellers. Valmiki was the first person to write down the complete story in Sanskrit – so he could be the original author – or not, nobody knows.
But what’s wonderful is that this story has been part of the Indian conscience since more than 2000 years! One can only wonder at the appeal of the narrative. Some read it as a sacred book like the Bible is read by devout Christians, some read it as one would read Homer’s Odyssey while some read it as an anthropological journal, to try and understand the structure of the society when the story would have been first written (and its present day influence). Whatever be the reason for reading it, I am doubtful if there would be anyone from India, who wouldn’t know the Ramayana – more so after there having been at least two television-serials on the epic and a few movies – one of them being a hi-tech animation movie!
                    However, nobody really attempted to tell it the way it’s told in this book. It has a local flavor of the way the story is narrated by local storytellers in West Bengal whilst keeping the main story as it is. But the most important thing is that it makes you see what Sita might have thought and felt about the various events of the story. It’s a beautifully painted and wonderfully narrated book; a perfect example of the saying – “a picture is worth a thousand words”! I could go on writing on what I have always felt and thought about the Ramayana myself, but I guess the blog would be too small a medium for that. So may be I will start writing about it in a journal. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about the authors and the making of the book, you can look here:
Making of the book

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