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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 198

The forest of enchantments (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni)

Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission18-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance03-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Samrat Ray
Room No. 2222, SSRB Block, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_69_21

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How to cite this article:
Ray S. The forest of enchantments (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni). J Med Evid 2021;2:198

How to cite this URL:
Ray S. The forest of enchantments (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni). J Med Evid [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 10];2:198. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2021/2/2/198/324972

Authors : Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Publisher : Harper Collins

Year of publication : 2019

Number of pages : 372

Edition : 1

The epic saga of 'Ramayana retold by Sita' is what summarises this latest masterpiece by Divakaruni. The book unfolds itself chapter by chapter taking leaps from infancy to the last leg of goddess Sita's life; from her mysterious birth (questioning her ancestry and genetic lineage in future), to her strong ideas of feminism and gender equality (way ahead of her time); from her avid interest in the unique flora and fauna (making her the magic healer of Panchal), to her special connection with the divine weapons (predicting her upcoming struggles in life way ahead in time); from her passionate and raw romance with her beloved Ram (in riches and rags), to her arduous days of longing for him as a captive in Lanka maintaining her strong solidarity and will power; from being a constant pillar of support as a perfect wife to Ram, to standing up for her dignity and keeping up the valour of the Panchal princess when being misjudged by her beloved.

The book is a poignant retelling of Ramayana by a girl, a lover, a wife, a mother, and a warrior queen. Instead of taking the leaps in the story according to the Kands (described by Saint Valmiki), this parallel tale follows the various stages in Sita's life and narrates the Ramayana (that we already have known for years) from her point of view. As the story progresses, the reader can feel reliving the era of Aranya Kand, Sundar Kand etc., albeit from a different perspective now. The beautiful metaphor of forest and its significance in various stages of Sita's life is a revelation of something that we already knew, but perhaps never paid much attention to. The best part about the narration was subtlety in describing the various emotions of Sita (without any overdose of melodrama) and the parallel stories of the other female characters of Ramayana (Kaushalya and her longing for Dashrath's love, Urmila and her story of abandonment by her sister and husband, the mystical character of Ahalya and her story of betrayal and fidelity, the demoness Surpanakha who you would despise and sympathise at the same time and the immensely talented and beautiful Kaikeyi, the curator of all miseries in the epic blinded by the love for her son). The book takes us on a journey of different faces of a woman.

All in all, the book is a refreshing journey to revisit one of India's greatest sagas. It is indeed a much-needed break from the routine bravados of machismo and male heroic sagas to an eye-opening journey of feminism from a mythological point of view.

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There are no conflicts of interest.


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