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The Liberation of Sita, by Volga Popuri Lalitha Kumari , Harper Perennial, 2016, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , I cannot NOT give this book a 5 star Society gave him that authority, I didn t Till I give it, no one can have that authority over me.But he has disowned you.Pity, that is his loss The Authority being spoken about here is the authority to judge, the authority to dictate her actions.The Liberation of Sita is a book which I felt, everyone should read I finished this book in one sitting but it lingered in my mind, so much so that it didnt let me sleep Its a collection of 5 different, yet connected stories of Sita meeting 4 extraordinary women, who have broken free from all that held them back they have a profound impact on Sita and steer her towards an unexpected resolution, of her Liberation.I wish I knew enough Telugu to read the book in its original language.For the love of literature, please read it. This is the retelling I ve been looking for Not even a retelling,so the POV The Ramayana treats its female characters, amongst others, very poorly, so this was refreshing to read. Volga is my first Telugu author I ve always been proud of my heritage and especially prideful of being a Telugu person perhaps it comes from my not living in India This form of longing to understand and be a part of Telugu cultural norms as best as I can be has always gnawed away at my being It shows through my accent marked fluent Telugu But, reading this book has finally given me the understanding of what it really means to be a Telugu woman marked by the societal standards that I have only been half exposed to my entire life This book is quite short it s around 70 pages on my Kindle Paperwhite and is a very alluring read Essentially, it is a short story collection in which Sita has various discourses with female characters with tragic backgrounds like her To this day, I ve probably read 20 30 different variations of the Ramayanam but after reading this I finally can retire from searching for the feminist answers I kept asking throughout this book This is a book that we need in these times For women, this is an abandonment of old values that are impressed upon us from the Ramayana and it is a nod toward understanding the injustices that are served to the woman Essentially, it s a feminist lens reading of the Ramayana I won t get into the analysis because then the book will not hold its charm The interview at the end of my copy with Volga was equally mesmerizing A marxist, feminist Telugu author and activist, she has set out to accomplish for this country what we have constantly failed to do We need to start accepting Telugu and other Indian authors and need to bring them out into the public because their views and ideologies will help progressive ideologies prosper in this country Women are slowly becoming aware of their status as an equal, but we need to pursue it on agovernmental, societal level I absolutely admire the progressive ideas that these authors are putting out, and wholeheartedly thank Volga for writing this book the Ramayanam that women need to read No longer should Ramarajyam be the ideal We should all strive to be the Sita at the end of this book bound to nobody but herself. I enjoyed this retelling of Ramayana It is a set of stories which are linked Sita who has been abandoned by Rama is on a self realization journey She meets Ahalya, Renuka, Shurpanaka and Urmila I never did connect Ahalya s story with Sita and now I m like why didn t I This was the BOTM for one my book clubs, it was a pretty short read I m glad I read it My only complaint is that the writing especially the translation could have been far, far better The subject discussed is serious, and its wisdom profound It could ve been dealt in withdeliberation. Not bad, but i feel like some of the passion intensity got lost in the translation It felt muchprofound when i read the original. The Liberation of Sita takes us through the lives of 4 exceptional women in Hindu Mythology These women have faced oppression from the society or their family for the crimes they never committed and were seen as mere casualties in a bigger operation mission.Some of the great men in Hindu Mythology have chosen the path of Dharma and made innumerable mistakes in the way While these actions were for the greater good, women were seen to suffer the mostWhatever gives you peace of mind, consider that the truth The Liberation of Sita is all about the lessons these remarkable, strong women learned through their journey and how they met Sita and tried to give her wisdom to not make those similar mistakes But Liberation doesn t come through wisdom It comes through experience As Sita is tormented again and again in the name of Dharma, she makes innumerable sacrifices and that s how she realizes the meaning of the words told by these womenDid Ahalya know it would turn out like this Rama has asked for my chastity test Isn t death better than this Isn t leaving me to my fate better Why humiliate me like this Why wage such a war if this is how I was going to be treated War is for demonstrating the valour of men Rama has proved his heroism He is awaiting the demonstration of his wife s chastity Isn t this what Ahalya called distrust Wouldn t accepting her in trust or rejecting her in distrust be better What should be done now Sita s heart was like a volcano The Liberation of Sita makes us believe that a woman is strong enough to protect herself, forgiving enough to forgive the gravest mistake by her loved ones, and kind enough to sacrifice her happiness for the greater good.What I loved the most about the book is that the author has chosen to preach feminism without blaming the other sex There is a chapter of Rama where we hear his ordeal and pain because of his separation from Sita This states that the author wants us to understand feminism, but not as a competition with the other sex but as equals. Volga s The Liberation of Sita is a collection of short stories Sita meets other famous infamous women of the myths Surpanaka, Renuka, Urmila, Ahalya Through conversations, self reflection and quiet questions that are often not asked , Sita finds herself in whole form, not as a manifestation of an image conferred upon her by a man s world The stories pose questions of who is right and who is wrong what is dharma why women were always silenced how men see women and so on I particularly loved Sita s meeting with Surpanaka Surpanaka is always described as a demon in the stories, but here she finds beauty and joy in nurturing her garden Similarily, each meeting awakens a new thought in Sita which later threads into the actual story of Ramayana.I love Ramayana and reading about different takes on the book Moreover Sita is one of my favourite heroines, the other being Parvathy So I was very enthusiastic to see Volga s interpretations I loved the book for how the women were portrayed I have always thought of Sita as a very strong woman and this book tells us the building blocks in her life that made her into what she is All stories revolve around the theme of how unfair life is towards a woman.The epics have never been very kind to women characters nor given them a voice Which is why such interpretations that give a voice to the female characters in a man s world are so important You don t need a knowledge about Ramayana or the epics to get the most out of the book The characters are explained but a basic knowledge of the bare storyline is definitely helpful.However I did think a lot of the essence of the book was lost in translation it had a familiar, bumpy feel at many portions which often happens in translations from Indian languages into English That said, I would recommend the read because it makes you think it really does Rating 3.5 starsBlog Instagram Twitter Facebook ^DOWNLOAD ⇖ The Liberation of Sita ↜ Valmiki S Ramayana Is The Story Of Rama S Exile And Return To Ayodhya, A Triumphant King Who Will Always Do Right By His Subjects In Volga S Retelling, It Is Sita Who, After Being Abandoned By Purushottam Rama, Embarks On An Arduous Journey To Self Realization Along The Way, She Meets Extraordinary Women Who Have Broken Free From All That Held Them Back Husbands, Sons And Their Notions Of Desire, Beauty And Chastity The Minor Women Characters Of The Epic As We Know It Surpanakha, Renuka, Urmila And Ahalya Steer Sita Towards An Unexpected Resolution Meanwhile, Rama Too Must Reconsider And Weigh Out His Roles As The King Of Ayodhya And As A Man Deeply In Love With His Wife A Powerful Subversion Of India S Most Popular Tale Of Morality, Choice And Sacrifice, The Liberation Of Sita Opens Up New Spaces Within The Old Discourse, Enabling Women To Review Their Lives And Experiences Afresh This Is Volga At Her Feminist Best