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Book review: Sita’s voice – Leisure News

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Author Amit Majmudar grabs the opportunity by the proverbial horns and lets his imagination soar in his version of the Rama story, which he names ‘Sitayana’.

Having translated the Valmiki Ramayana, I know of the itch to make the text what you want it to be-Sita should have said this, Rama should have done that. While a translator, bound to the imagination of the original composer, can’t scratch the itch, a reteller of the story can.

Author Amit Majmudar grabs the opportunity by the proverbial horns and lets his imagination soar in his version of the Rama story, which he names ‘Sitayana’.

In this glorious mish-mash of many Ramayanas and multiple commentaries, we are treated to new motivations for action, revised etymologies, puns and poetry.

Hanuman meets Surasa on his journey to fetch the sanjivani (rather than on his leap to Lanka) and offers to ‘come in her mouth’; Rama has brought Sanskrit to the monkeys and elevated them by explaining that vanara is but a combination of vana (forest) and nara (man).

Majmudar’s story runs at a mile a minute and the reader must huff along, wondering why it’s called Sitayana when so many other voices clamour for attention.

I was happy to huff along but had to sit down when I encountered Rama’s mother’s name: ‘Causalya’ with a C. That was one pun too many for my gasping lungs.

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