As some idolise Ram, it is time to recover Sita from her husband’s shadow - ALL Jobs News

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Saturday, 12 September 2020

As some idolise Ram, it is time to recover Sita from her husband’s shadow

With the Supreme Court of India clearing way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, we have arrived at the summit of masculine Hindu nationalism. Liberal Hindu writers like Pratap Bhanu Mehta are disappointed that the new temple will not embody their vision of an ideal Ram. After all, for most North Indian Hindus, Ram symbolises kindness and martial power.

Dravidian and Bahujan movements, though, have competing narratives about the Ramayana and advance their own sharp ideas about Ram. Among those who had other visions of Ram was BR Ambedkar. In Riddles in Hinduism, he referred to Ram as the “hero” of Ramayana but wondered if he was worthy of deification.

While Ram is the focus for nationalist Hinduisms, progressive, liberal Hindus need to recover the icon of Sita from her husband’s shadow. There is urgent reason to do so. In India, girls continue to be deprived of resources that their brothers receive. Forty percent of girls aged 15-18 are not in school. India ranks in the bottom section of the Asia and the Pacific region in the Gender Equality Index – at 95, it is close to Bangladesh at 102.

As India advances the idea of Ram Rajya, Hindutva seems to reaffirm patriarchal and masculine status...

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