Book Review – Sitayana by Amit Majmudar

Discussing any version of Ramayana (or any other such book) these days, online, is asking for much varied, and at times unwelcome, opinions. However, people do it despite everything. Hate, love, snobbery, half-baked fanaticism and, rarely with fond appreciation are the reactions.

Amit Majmudar‘s version of the Ramayana is fascinating. It is vastly different from, yet, remains the same as every other version I’ve read. Let’s talk about the similarities. Every version of the Ramayana has made me cry, be it Kilipaattu or R K Narayan. I’ve cried and wanted to fling the book away. I despair for Sita and I rave at her plight. I felt the same with Sitayana as well. As always I felt love, in all its forms – Bhakti, Moha, Kama, Lobha… All of it. Then I felt beginnings of despair as Sita faces her agnipariksha. And a full-blown state of sorrow as she is discarded in the forest.

Sitayana by Amit Majumdar, Book Review by Frost At Midnite

Sitayana does what few other tellings of Ramayana have done so far. It shows the plot unfold from the perspective of most characters involved. As Hanuman tells us his short tales, they are coloured with Bhakti, his devotion to Rama. Lakshmana’s has his fraternal love and loyalty. Even the little squirrel feels like it has a played a part in something beyond the realm of mortal understanding. It is fascinating how Amit Majmudar has managed to convey such emotions. When Sugriva wakes in Rama’s arms and the disappointment he goes through knowing he is still alive as a vanara or Ravana’s final words to Rama are particularly moving instances. It is amazing how Ravana confesses that it is due to his doing that every avatar of Vishnu’s henceforth will be more compassionate towards the human plight. These tiny bits are often missing in most versions, but it was wonderful to read it in Sitayana.

And through it all we have Sita, held captive in a garden, waiting for her prince. Waiting for justice. Even as a child I wondered how one could go on knowing the hurt and grief that was inflicted by one on someone else. Yet such epics have shown us people do carry on. Whether it be man or woman, peasant or king, rakshasa or god. They go on with life. Sitayana shows us this. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that Sita finally does what she needed to do, moving on. She goes to a realm where she does not have wait for justice or justify an injustice done to her. No one is worth that. Sitayana, succinctly and subtly, shows us that as well.

If you are a connoisseur of the Indian epics, you will find another book to love in the Sitayana. Even if not, Sitayana is a book well written and steadfast in its telling that its words transform into life-like magnificence while you read.

Definitely recommend!

You can get a copy of Sitayana here – Amazon, Flipkart

Goodreads

SitayanaSitayana by Amit Majmudar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

By Frost At Midnite

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