Analysing Sita as the Creation of Ravana Across Selected Indian Ramayana Tellings

Ruchika Jain, India, ID LLCE2017-151;        Abstract:  Within the South-Asian tradition of Ramayana, the relationship between Ravana and Sita, the antagonist an te protagonist’s wife respectively, has popularly and almost indisputably been that of an abductor and victim. This paper questions this assumption and analyses this relationship across different tellings of the tale to argue that the character of Sita is invariably a creation of Ravana, either symbolically or literally. This argument is meant to question the dominant understanding of Ravana as the evil Asura king and Sita as the victimized woman, and in turn see these representations as social constructs or the "othered" parts of society- the man who poses a threat to the power structure and the woman respectively. The primary method of this comparative study will be to analyse different portrayals of this relationship across the selected Ramayana tellings such as Valmiki Ramayana, Aubrey Menen’s Ramayana and A. Neelakantan’s Asura: Tale of the Vanquished. The aim of this paper is to understand the dominant and subversive political standpoints from and for which these texts emerge and are, perhaps, appropriated.

Keywords: Epic, Mythology, Ramayana, Ravana-Sita Relationship, South-Asian Literature