Sita: Warrior of Mithila – By Amish Tripathi

Sita – Warrior of Mithila is the best novel written by Amish Tripathi till date. I was skeptical when I came across Amish’s Sita. After watching Amish and Smriti Irani live on Facebook discussing and unveiling Sita, my first thought was that it is going to be yet another novel celebrating feminism, focusing more on the character than the story. However, I was compelled to read Sita because of two reasons.

Firstly, I was familiar with Amish’s style of bringing new flair to already known characters and secondly I had cherished reading Scion of Ikshvaku , hence could not afford to skip the sequel. I finished it in two sittings. Sita is engrossing and too tempting to resist, not because of the story but because of various other exciting reasons that I will discuss later. One thing I realized in first few chapters is that the novel is not about Ramayan’s Sita, but it was all about Sita – Warrior of Mithila. It describes her life as an adopted princess, her struggles to create a place in the world and her choices. True to his unique style, Amish painted her in a new shade altogether, bringing Sita in bright new light out from the shadows of millennia.

The novel starts with the last chapter of Scion of Ikshvaku to maintain continuity written from the perspective of lady Sita. Subsequent chapters started a new thread, the story of lady Sita right from the point where royal couple of Mithila found her deep in forest. This novel not only talks about lady Sita but also touches various other exhilarating story lines. There are plethora of hints and clues scattered throughout the book. Without waiting any further, let me tell you other exciting reasons to read this book as I mentioned earlier –

Most obvious is the story of lady Sita like you never read before – a warrior/thinker princess brimming with determination and courage. Maharishi Vishwamitra being one of the major characters of the novel gets his own interlaced story line, illustrating complex relationship with Maharishi Vashistha. Childhood friends turned enemy, reasons unknown.

Bigger conspiracies being played by Vayuputras (the clan left behind by last Mahadev Lord Rudra and Malayputra) – the clan of Vishnu. Glimpses of this legendary feud were present in Shiva trilogy as well, the same has been narrated further in this novel with great detail.

You will find some unconventional reasoning in the book which will raise doubt on what we read or watch about Ramayana our entire lives. There are questions like – Are you sure Lord Ram was the incarnation of Vishnu and no one else? Are you sure that Kaikeyi was the sole reason behind 14 years of exile? The book will motivate you to go out and look for answers. The Ram Chandra series is set earlier than The Shiva trilogy in time, therefore you will get answers to many question raised in Shiva Trilogy. Most interesting being the groundbreaking concept of maika system implemented by Lord Ram.

In this novel, Amish infused complex philosophies into the simple conversation of the characters with much ease as compared to previous novels. You will not find a single paragraph going out of track to discuss ancient Indian philosophy, which is irrelevant to the chapter. Detailed discussion on ancient Indian sociology is effortlessly woven into the dialogues. Special mention of chapter 26 in this regards needs to be done. I got fascinated by this particular chapter where Sita is discussing the masculine and feminine construct of human society with Bharat.

Many prominent characters like lord Hanuman and Jatayu are also introduced in this book. Interestingly, Amish focused on the relationship of these characters with lady Sita and not with Lord Ram. Some of the stories as subplots are quite interesting, especially about Jatayu’s past and game of Jallikattu. The surreal description of the land of the last avatar of Vishnu, Parashuram is also a feast for readers.

All in all, with lucid writing style and smooth transition in story, Amish has crafted a must read masterpiece. I am eagerly waiting for the third and I believe the most interesting installment of Ram Chandra series: Raavan – The Orphan of Aryavarta.

Reviewed by : Adarsh Srivastava

A pragmatic agnostic who is always curious. Data analyst for the sake of bread and butter but considers reading and writing a full time job.

Author(s): Amish Tripathi
Publisher: Westland Books
Release: May 2017
Genre: Fiction/Mythology
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