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Sita's Sister by Kavita Kane - Book Review


Meet the Urmila, the unseen warrior of Ramayana

Book Name: Sita's Sister
Writer: Kavita Kane
Source: Read from library
Total Pages: 311
Price: 295 INR
Language: English
Genre: Fiction/ Mythological Fiction


Will you let your husband go with his brother to fulfil his duty? Will you live without your husband for 14 years? What will you do when your husband chooses his brother over you? Ramayana, written by Valmiki is greatest epic in Hinduism. Ramayana gives us various lessons of relationships. We end up discussing the role of primary characters in Ramayana like Ram, Sita, Laxman, Dashrath but we overlook the sacrifice of Urmila, the wife of Laxman, who lived without her husband for 14 years. Her penance of love, her hidden pain can never be seen by us. Kavita Kane, the author of the best-selling book Karna's wife  again chooses an overlooked woman character in Indian mythology, Urmila, Sita's sister. This is her story.

Plot summary: 

The story starts with the childhood of Sita, Urmila, Mandavi and Shrutakirti (Kirti) the four daughters of King Janak and Sunaina of Mithila. Sita was adopted after they find her underground while performing a holy ritual. Mandavi and Shrutakirti are the motherless nieces of King Janak. Sita is a humble and obedient girl, Mandavi is stubborn, Kirti is the youngest and loved one. Urmila, the biological daughter is the wise one, the link of the four sisters. One day, while playing, Sita accidentally picks up the tallest bow of 'Shiva' and King Janak and announces that whoever breaks it would marry Sita.

When prince Ram & Laxman come at Mithila to participate in the Swaymver of Sita, Urmila falls in love with Laxman. Later the four princes of Ayodhya get married to the four princesses of Mithila.

Once Urmila and the other three sisters reach Ayodhya, they find the silent rivalry between the three queens. Later, one unfortunate day, Queen Kaikeyi demands Ram to leave the crown and live an exiled life for the next 14 years. The fate leads Ram, Sita and Laxman to leave the palace and live in the forest. Each one follow their dharma; Sita choose patnidharma, Ram chooses Putradharma and Laxman chooses Bhratadharma leaving his wife alone at the palace. The author has emotionally written the whole scenario.

Urmila, a woman with strong will chooses not to mourn but to bind her scattered family. She becomes the backbone of the family when everybody is in a bad situation. She is portrayed as an emotionally strong woman who does not get distracted by the pain of separation. During the meeting in forest, she questions the elders ' ...what is the dharma of the husband  to his wife and I did not get answer...' 

A woman living without her love, any future, a victim of fate, moulds herself according to the situation and stands tall in the worst situation. This was Urmila, Sita's Sister.

Apart from Urmila, the portrayal of queen Kaikeyi and Laxman is awesome.

Writing style: 

The author has concentrated more on the feminist aspect of Ramayana. The story is written from the point of view of Urmila. The narrative is excellent and you can read this book in pace.

My perception: 

Before reading this book, one day while discussing with my Mommy I got to know that Urmila too lived a painful life. She also sacrificed a materialistic life. This is the only thing she could tell me about Urmila. The author must have put many efforts to give life to the character of Urmila whose life is not very well documented in the epic. I personally do not accept Ramayana in the way women were treated however I love the way the author has flipped the feminist side of Ramayana. A must-read to those who love to read and know more about mythology!

Halo of books: Excellent!

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Until next time, Keep reading :) 

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