Review -Liberation of Sita by Volga

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Name         – The liberation of Sita

Author                  – Volga (Translated from Telugu by T.Vijayakumar & C.Vijayasree)
Publisher              – HarperPerennial
Number of Pages – 127
Publishing Year   2016
Edition                  – Paperback

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Rating : 4.5

My Review

The epic Ramayana has been interpreted in various dimensions lately. There has been attempts to depict Ramayana from different characters’ outlooks. The liberation of Sita is a collection of five short stories. Each story is Sita’s association with four female characters in Ramayana- Surpanakha, Renuka, Ahalya and Urmila. These are the minor characters which were forgotten under the larger than life story of the great righteous man who set out to save his wife. Authoress is trying to put forth the fact that woman need not be protected. She should be empowered to protect herself. Authoress, in Sita’s words condemns the societal tendency to portray woman as a weak gender. She tried to put forth the ancient tale in today’s light.

We all have heard the story of Surpanakha whose nose and ears were cut off, which triggered the anger of her brother Ravana who in turn abducted Sita. We never bothered to think of a woman who was disfigured because she tried to possess a man. Authoress brings to light the injustice that happened to her. Nevertheless the whole scenario need not have been twisted. Surpanakha was attacked because she tried to attack Sita. This need not have changed. A repentance from Surpanakha would have added glory to the whole episode. 

Ahalya’s story is a new light to the prejudistic human mind. Whether she recognized Indra or not is not stated because irrespective of whether she was right or wrong, the punishment she got was not a righteous one. Renuka is one of the most ill treated woman in history. In spite of relating to her pain, every attempt was taken till now to glorify the great Parasurama. There has been literary attempts to give recognition to Urmila but in the book, authoress tried to convey a spiritual message through Urmila.

Authoress has been recognized as a feminist writer. Her pro female outlook is evident through the book. Sometimes, over the top attempt to portray men in the bad light was disturbing. Nevertheless, her attempt to throw light to a different version of the character portrayal should be hailed.

The book was originally written in Telugu and translated to English. It is an academy award winner book. A postscript is attached with a short note by the author as well as her interview. 

This review is in return of a free book from the publisher  

About the author

Volga (Popuri Lalitha Kumari) is a noted feminist writer in Telugu. Her nearly-fifty publications include Svechcha (Freedom, 1987; novel), Rajakeeya Kathalu (Political Stories, 1992; short story collection), Neeli Meghalu (Blue Clouds, 1993; edited anthology of feminist poetry), Charitra Swaralu (Voices of History, 2001; play), and Maaku Godalu Levu (We Have No Walls, 1989; feminist essays). She has translated Agnes Smedley’s Daughter of Earth (1929), Nawal El Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero (1975), Oriana Fallaci’s Letter to a Child Never Born (1975), and also the script of Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982) into Telugu. 

Among the many awards she received are the Nandi Award for the Best Story Writer (the Government of Andhra Pradesh, 1998), the Best Woman Writer Award (Telugu University, 1999), the Suseela Narayana Reddy Award (2009), Kandukuri Veerasalingam Literary Award (2013), the Lok Nayak Foundation Award (2014), and the Sahitya Akademi Award (2015). She is currently the Executive Chairperson of Asmita Resource Centre for Women, Hyderabad. 

T. Vijay Kumar is Professor of English at Osmania University, Hyderabad. His research interests include postcolonial literatures, the Indian literary diaspora, translation and educational television. His has co-edited Globalisation: Australian-Asian Perspectives (2014) and Focus India: Postcolonial Narratives of the Nation (2007). He has translated into English (with C. Vijayasree; 2002) Kanyasulkam, an early 20th century Telugu classic by Gurajada Venkata Appa Rao. He is one of the founder editors of Muse India: the literary e-journal and a director of the annual Hyderabad Literary Festival. 

C. Vijayasree (1953–2012) was Professor of English at Osmania University, Hyderabad and Director, Osmania University Centre for International Programmes (OUCIP). Author of nearly twenty books and fifty research papers, she was well-known in the field of postcolonial studies. Her publications include Suniti Namjoshi: The Artful Transgressor (2001), Mulk Raj Anand: The Writer and the Raj (1998), Writing the West: Representation of the West in Indian Literatures (2004; editor), Nation in Imagination: Essays on Nationalism, Sub-Nationalisms and Narration (2007; co-editor).

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