S L BHYRAPPA
When Rama tells Sita, ‘I fought for my clan’s glory, not for you.’ Do you expect sita to remain unchanged?
On the original release of Uttara Kaanda, S.L. Bhyrappa's twenty-fourth novel, the stalwart of Kannada literature said that he had been so overwhelmed by Valmiki's Ramayana that he couldn't go beyond Ayodhya Kaanda. However, the all-pervasiveness of the Rama discourse on Indian writing and philosophy compelled him to examine the final volume of the original epic: Uttara Kaanda. It was a revelation. In it he saw Rama, Lakshmana and Sita as human. Lakshmana's subservience to his brother was not absolute; power had changed Rama; and Sita never recovered from the humiliation of her banishment.
In Bhyrappa's Uttara Kaanda, Sita looks back on her life—abandoned at birth and abandoned again by her husband. Her entire life has been a quest for home, a sense of belonging. When they return from their long exile, Rama is anointed king of Ayodhya, but a pregnant Sita is sent away to live in a forest. Her exile doesn't end.
Uttara Kaanda is Sita’s soliloquy: O Rama, I loved the pure man you were in your youth, not the man you have become—not this man who is shackled by the royal throne. My love for you died sixteen years ago. A master of detail, Bhyrappa mines the ancient epic to humanize characters who have, for centuries, been looked upon as gods beyond reproach, bringing us as close as we’ll ever come to understanding them.