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Book Review – URMILA, The Forgotten Princess : Author Smriti Dewan

ByThe Rise Insight

Jun 25, 2021
smriti dewansmriti dewan

Book: URMILA, The Forgotten Princess

Author: Smriti Dewan

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Life has always its own way of surprising with twists and turns, which optimists call adventures and others call fate. It’s all in how we take. And here is a powerful human being who takes things in a balanced manner. In a way where she is made to accept her life as fate and calms down her nerves realizing her destiny.

Ramayan has been a story retold always in my mind from childhood. Even one of my favorites. But always Ramayan ends abruptly at a question to me-Why wasn’t Sita trusted by Ram, her lord? Later when growing up, I found, Valmiki was an eccentric poet who wrote about Sita, Ram, Lakshman and Hanuman. But there are certain characters, deliberately forgotten. One such is Urmila, sister of Sita, wife of Lakshman. Why just Urmila? Urmila was someone who had her life around Sita and later Lakshman while their destinies always began and ended in Ram. Thus, the existential crisis of this character and many more lady characters are questionable and appreciable.

In this book, you can find a fierce soul, Urmila, unlike those seen in TV serials. Urmila is a lady born and made. She is the daughter of Patkai, one of the strongest maternal community, her mother Sunaina being her model and strength, her grandmother being her Godmother, she was a born and made warrior. She wasn’t of those princesses’ kind of girl who admired jwellery and fairy tales, but was the skeptical, logical and critical one. She had her politics and vision which strongly helped her in concluding crucial matters. She had an opinion, a comment to pass on every instance where womanhood was hurt. She saw herself as the representation of those women who have been suppressed in the patriarchal society, made to listen, gossip and hush. The Urmila you find here, will be a typical fire soul of the contemporary times entangled to the world of attachments.

Her studies, her husband, her life and everything that was related to her was purely her choice, she demanded. But life had something else waiting for her. The future queen of Mithila, although not Janaki or Vaidehi (these are the other names given to Sita, not the blood daughter of Janak) had bigger responsibilities and promises to fulfill as expectations always burdened her. Duties of a dharmapatni didn’t stop her from fulfilling them, but yes, damp love for Lakshman did. Every time when Lakshman asked for a favor, she cursed and accepted her ‘fate’. But she never gives up on Hope that someday things shall fall into place. Being the daughter in law, her duties to help her family never compromised. Thus, although being merely the daughter in law, she became the protective shield of her land- she lived and belonged to.

It’s not only about Urmila, it’s about Kaikeyai, Gargi, Mandavi, Shruta, Netraya, Sunaina and Kalika. These powerful women characters just challenge the reader’s consciousness and bring out fabulous impact while reading. Nidra, being a perfect metaphor, feminine in nature, gives insights to Urmila about her husband and sister. The loner she became the deeper Nidra embraced her. Here I would like to quote, only a woman can help another woman- so did Nidra. In recent times concept of marriage as a sacred ritual has now become a mere business which is reflected in the book where Urmila brings this bitter yet buttered truth of marriage being a tool for power alliances. In contemporary times, nuclear power decides the power of nations- similar is the depiction of Vishwakarma Kund. The themes of rivalry, power, politics etc revolve actively, positively charged, in-alliance to plot. The way of depicting events, emotions, circumstances are way beyond words. Nothing boring, everything exciting. Perfect, magnificent masterpiece portraying the life of a denied and its allied souls in the most realistic manner. Perfect as a Contemporary Women fiction, Mytho-ficiton, Thriller, Feminist as well as a fantasy read.

About the reviewer:

Kavi Krish is a freelancer, literature enthusiast and a Teacher Trainee by profession based in Kerala. She has been fascinated to the world of literature from a very early age and is extremely interested in Indian Mythology, crime thrillers, fantasy and fiction. Besides reading she is a passionate artist and photographer.


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