My friend Smriti likes to give herself names that almost belie her... Names like Tattle-tale (though she does spin beautiful tales). And Chatterbox (which she can be, too). But the names say nothing of the understanding, the depth, the challenge of her writing.
Most recently, she has made me re-think Sita, as a feminist model. Sample this -
"She remains loyal to Ram during captivity.
She trusts Ram to remain loyal towards her. Upon rescue she does not demand an agni pariksha of him though she could have wondered what Ram had been up to while she was away.
Her trust matches her love.
After the washerman incident she leaves Ram's palace to never return.
Her self esteem is fiercer than her love.
She is proud and capable and does an excellent job at being a single parent."
And here's something equally thought-provoking about Kekayi - why, after all, is it so hard to forgive her?
"Kekai chose the throne over Ram.
Ram chose the throne over Sita.
Why is it so easy to not forgive Kekai?
And why is Ram a god?"
And here, the miserable linkages between religion, war, texts and media.
"Are you very sure the removal of Islam from politics in Islamic countries will bring peace and order?
Stalin ruled and murdered without religion, so did Hitler.
Killing Jews does seem like a very religious thing to do…Jews being a religious sect. How come you don’t view the World Wars as a religious war?... Why is the Abu Gharib just another political/moral crisis?
Would you call such torture if conducted by Iraqies another political/moral crisis?"