Published: 15th August 2018
I'd love to write about Ram, says author Kavita Kané
Bestselling author of Sita's Sister, Kavita Kané talks about her love for mythology and the examination of female characters in the epics
After a two-decade-long stint in journalism, when Kavita Kané decided to write a book, she didn't really have to ponder over what genre she should explore. Because from as far back as she could remember, she has always loved mythology. A love sowed in her heart through the beautiful images of Amar Chitra Katha, she nurtured it through extensive reading.
What was going through Urmila's mind when Lakshman decided to accompany Ram to the forest or what was Vrushali's and Karna's relationship like? "I wanted to start writing with Urmila. She was one of the most overlooked characters in the Ramayana," Kané tells us. "Sita and Urmila are so much alike and led parallel lives. Ironically, each one reacts differently. The latter has an intriguing character," she adds. But while she wasn't able to find out more about Janaka's younger daughter, she says that she "almost gave up and wrote Vrushali's tale instead." But Kané wasn't a quitter. Urmila was the protagonist of her second book Sita's Sister.
Mythology is populated with so many people. Even the smallest character is not like any other. Each one is different and that makes the plot progress. I would not say that it happened by default
Kavita Kané, author
What was Sita like? Was she a timid victim of fate, a silent prey to patriarchy or a mute spectator of happenings who never failed to nod yes to everything her husband said? None, says the Pune-based author. She tells us that in the Ramayana, Sita was a true feminist icon. "Sita knows her mind. Just because she's mild, she isn't weak. She always believed in equality and the dignity of a human being. She never surrendered whatever problems were thrown at her. She always fought back with conviction," she says.
Kané also tells us about how she always found Ram a mysterious character in Indian mythology and how she'd love to write about him. "Ram is extremely enigmatic. You don't know his thoughts. He never voices his dilemmas. He's the one who was responsible for Sita's Agni Pariksha. There is a lot of quiet action around him," she says.
Feminism isn't male bashing, but talking about a woman as an individual. Sita always demanded the right of a wife and a mother. She did it with a certain grace and dignity. She was a woman of steel
Kavita Kané, author
This got us wondering if her next book could be the story of Ram. But the answer was no. Even though she didn't reveal the name of the protagonist, she did throw around quite a few clues. "She's a woman. Is she in Mahabharat or Ramayan? I think both. I think she's the biggest symbol of patriarchy if you actually see her. And it's a little difficult writing about her," she says. The book will be out next year.
So what is the reason for Kané's unconditional love for mythology? The author tells us. "Mythology isn't just myths or tales, but the story of man. That is why these are relevant even today. It talks about universal experiences and that accounts for its popularity even in the 21st century."