Sita is one of the defining figures of Indian womanhood, yet there is no single version of her story. Different accounts coexist in myth, literature and folktale. Canonical texts deify Sita while regional variations humanize her. Folk songs and ballads connect her timeless predicament to the daily lives of rural women. Modern-day women continue to see themselves reflected in films, serials and soap operas based on Sitaâ€™s narrative.
Sacrifice, self denial and unquestioning loyalty are some of the ideals associated with popular perceptions of Sita. But the Janaki who symbolized strength, who could lift Shivaâ€™s mighty bow, who courageously chose to accompany Rama into exile and who refused to follow him back after a second trial, is often forgotten.
However she is remembered, revered or written about, Sita continues to exert a powerful influence on the collective Indian psyche. In Search of Sita presents essays, conversations and commentaries that explore different aspects of her life. It revisits mythology, reopening the debate on her birth, her days in exile, her abduction, the test by fire, the birth of her sons and, finally, her return to the earthâ€”offering fresh interpretations of this enigmatic figure and her indelible impact on our everyday lives.