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Eco-feminism in Sita myth

Published On 03-11-2020

Eco-feminism in Sita myth is a new experiment made by Professor Nandini Sahu: Professor Gurmeet Singh, Vice Chancellor, University of Pondicherry.

Professor Nandini Sahu’s ‘Sita’ in English, translated by Shri Dinesh Kumar Mali in Hindi was released by Professor Gurmeet Singh, Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University in the inaugural session of 'Two Day International Webinar' on the theme of recitation of Ramayana in the context of Sita’s exile epics, organized on 25.10.2020 by Hindi Department of Pondicherry University.
Professor Gurmeet Singh presided over the session and in his presidential address, he praised Dr. Nandini Sahu's original English poem 'Sita' as well as its Hindi translation done by Shri Dinesh Kumar Mali. He said that it is impossible to write poetry without grace of God and the poem written on the Sita myth by Nandini Sahu in a male dominated society, is an exemplary for the new generation, in which environmental problems in the modern perspective have been raised along with the present and past social evils. According to him, perhaps this creation would be such type of first poem written by a woman on Sita in the modern era.
The Convener of the seminar, Dr. Jaishankar Babu, Head of Hindi Department, Pondicherry University gave some examples of poetry based on Ramayana in modern perspective written by eminent writers such as Rajaram Shukla’s 'Janki Jeevan', Ayodhyasinh Upadhyaya Hariyodh’s 'Vaidehi Vanwas', Nagarjuna’s 'Bhoomija', Udbhrant’s 'Treta', Pandit Govindadas's ‘Priya or Praja', Acharya Tulsi’s 'Agni Pariksha', Poddar Ram Avatar Arun’s 'Arun Ramayan',Bharat Bhushan Agrawal's ‘Agnilik', Pandit Jagdish Prasad Tiwari's ‘Love Kush Yuddh', Dr. Naresh Mehta's ‘Pravad Parv', Rama Sharma's ‘Ramrajya', Umashankar Nagayach's ‘Sita Nirvasan’,Gulab Khandelwal's ‘Sita-Vanvas', Zahoor Bakhsh’s ‘Devi Sita', Vijay Kumar Mishra's ‘Dard Ki Hai Geet Sita' etc. Recently some notable fictions expressing sympathy for Sita have also been written such as Rita Shukla’s 'Kis Janam Vaidehi', Mridula Sinha's 'Sita Puni Boli', Amish's 'Sita: Mithila's Warrior', Navneet Devasen's 'Starting with Sita' etc. But Nandini Sahu's epic 'Sita' certainly has its own importance among all the above works focused on exile of Sita.
The Chief Guest of this session, an apex Hindi poet, Udbhrantji, threw deep light on the relevance, utility and importance of Hindi translation in the present era. Illustrating his renowned epic 'Treta', he said, Sita is a sublime mythological character of Indian culture.Through his poem 'Sita Rasoi', he expressed the exile, abduction, fire ordeal and internal grief of Sita. He also gave some examples of neglected characters of Ramayan such as Ram's sister Shanta, Shambook's mother. On basis of experience acquired by him during poetic translation of ‘The Gita’ in Hindi verses titled as 'Pragyabenu', he said that translation is a very complex work. Even big litterateurs like Tagore and Nirala had also translated master piece literary works in their lives. According to Udbhrant ji, even today, the myth is prevalent in our nerves, so in the present times, they are still important to give a new direction to the society.
Dr. Tippeswamy, an eminent Hindi-Kannad translator of this century, Retired Hindi Professor, Mysore University, not only appreciated translation, but also said that Dr. Nandini has made a proper assessment of the conscience of the capable woman of the modern age through 'Sita'. Highlighting the importance of comparative studies, he illustrated that famous Hindi poet Maithili Sharan Gupt depicted Urmila in his famous epic ‘Saket’ as 'Viharani', whereas renowned Kannada poet Kuvempu in his Kannada text 'Ramayana Darshanam' described Urmila as ascetic. In this way, parallel trends in Indian literature can only keep the integrity of the country intact.
The Indian English poetess Dr. Nandini Sahu threw light on the inspirational elements behind the creation of her 'Sita' poem, the contents of the poem, the importance of eco-feminism in the modern perspective under the pretext of Sita myth. She had used the deconstructed form of Sita myth in her poetry, not only had she generalised but also universalized it, from Nirbhaya to the female Prime Minister of the country. For this creation, not only did she read three hundred Ramayanas, but she also followed the map of Ramayana, by travelling through Ayodhya, Nepal, Sri Lanka etc. In her poetry, discourse from the point of Sita’s view has been mentioned. She considered forest dwelling of Sita as her environmental awareness.

Dr. Asim Ranjan Parhi, Head of Department of English Language, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, presented his views on comparative study of English and Hindi poetry and necessity of translation into Indian languages, specifically in Hindi. Dr. Asim Ranjan Parhi described this creation as suitable for research-work in universities, so that the concept can be publicized in general mass. Regarding translation, he felt that the translation had not only survived the original theme, but also maintained the rhythm, lyrics and music as intact. The trans-creator Shri Dinesh Kumar Mali elaborated difficulties faced during translation process.
Dr. Sandhya Singh, an official scholar of Hindi and Tamil working at the National University, Singapore, described the work of Dr. Nandini Sahu as original and different as environmental aspects, feminism are important aspects in present era. Being obsessed with the background of Banaras, in this poem, she sees Sita as the progressive woman as well as rebellion. She admitted that poetry reflected the woman's greed towards gold and the mindset of an abandoned woman by her husband significantly. She considered the Hindi translation of this poem done with cleverness, seriousness and sincerity.
Dr. Mauna Kaushik, Head of Department of Indology in Bulgaria, also highlighted the importance of writing and translating mythological characters in various languages of India and abroad in modern context. This is necessary for the new generation as cultural heritage. Accordingly to her, the entire India resides in the 'Sita' poem. The Hindi translation will certainly set up new examples and in later times, this book will definitely be used as a reference book.
Finally, the publisher, Vikram Dwivedi presented his views about the publication, distribution and importance of good literature for the modern generation.
The Convenor, Dr. Jaishankar Babu, successfully conducted the historical literary event. He also stated that the original as well as the translated work as an outstanding for academic research. At the end, Mrs. Padmapriya, Associate Professor of Pondicherry University, expressed her heartfelt thanks to all the participants who gathered on virtual platform from different corners of the country and abroad.

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