Sita of the modern world

This week’s pick is a novel by Sini Panicker, an Indian scientist based in Virginia, USA, who works as a Subject Matter Expert for the US federal government 

Published: 02nd November 2021 06:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2021 06:16 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Little did Sini Panicker, an Ernakulam native who is settled in Washington for the past 30 years, know that she would become an author one day. The Indian-American woman, who is also a scientist, published her debut book, ‘Sita: Now You Know Me’, an English novel that retells the tale of Ramayana with antoganist Sita as the central character. The book published by Rupa Publications, New Delhi, in March 2021 showcases Sita as a strong, captivating, modern voice originating from an ancient time.

Though the character names are quoted from the mythology, according to Sini, the book is entirely about women’s issues in the present world. Though civilisation has travelled ahead atleast two thousand years since Sita’s time, women still have to fight for rights and equal opportunities. The beginning of #MeToo movement in 2017 in the USA was Sini’s inspiration. 

“The movement does not correlate with Sita’s story but it was a space that discussed inequality and oppression, alongside discrimination, and mistreatment of women,”says Sini.  Sita, being the first female protagonist of our country, represents all women. In Ramayana, her life is a battle against doubts and her weakness. In my book, Sita’s narrative showcases her brilliance and sensibilities, while also throwing light on her insecurities and anguish. She is also remarkably strong, resilient, and inspiring,” explains Sini about the book’s origin.

The writer has kept Ramayana’s storyline mostly intact.  She took around three years to complete the novel which is available in Malayalam as Yanam Seethayanam since September. The Malayalam version of the book is published by Poorna Publications, Calicut, with an introduction by writer and professor M K Sanoo. 

“More instances of women being harassed are coming up and this creates the need for women empowerment. The last chapter of my book discusses a strong conversation between Sita and Rama when he comes to get Sita and his children. I hope my book gives women of our generation the grit to fight,” concludes Sini. 


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