The Sita Syndrome

This is a discussion on the erroneous interpretation of Sri Ram as a woman-absuser. This post provides samples of the type of shoddy, misrepresentative, and superficial work of Hinduism and its epics that is being done in US academia.

October 2013
Anshu starts the discussion by sharing an article: "The Sita Syndrome"
Archana Bhatt (2013). The Sita syndrome (pdf link): Examining the communicative aspects of domestic violence from a South Asian perspective...

I wanted to write a letter to the editor or a journal article explaining that this phenomenon is prevalent worldwide, regardless of race or religion. I can do a literature review for Gender Based Violence, but need some help to justify Shri. Ram's actions..."

Rajiv shares a Huffington Post link: "The following is a typical superficial article by a Hindu in interfaith:

A prominent Hindu rep supported this "Sita sings the blues" when I first got to know her in the 1990s, taking a western feminist stand. Then we had some arguments. I think she later regretted encouraging this interpretation but by then it had taken root and gone mainstream. Today this interpretation of Ram = woman abuser is very standard in academic and other intellectual circles."

Anshu shares a couple of links and comments:
" UChicago link 1, link 2.

Not only that, GOI also "gifted" $1.5 million to burn. But, when it comes to fund "real" scholars or research, they never have enough money.

What to say about Ministary of Culture, Hinduism is not even in their ("secular") mission statement..."

This discussion is continued in another thread. This is largely about whether the Uttara Kanda of Ramayana was or was not a part of the original, Valmiki's Ramayana.

Param adds:
" Uttara Kanda is certainly not a part of Valmiki's epic; for instance it distorts the characters of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita; the Shambuka story is also fake.
...  Also, what some critics call Sita's "agni-pareeksha" is really Sita's Agni-pravesha".  Rama NEVER suspected Sita's chastity, and Sita knew it..."

Krishnamurthy responds
"while Shambhuka episode is a patent interpolation, being not in consonance with the Valmikian philosophy, Uttarakanda cannot be severed from Ramayana, since the biography of any character should stretch from the entrance of that character to his exit; as otherwise it will be incomplete. Further, it is wrong to say that the said kanda is in derogation of the Characters of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana; though there are good many misinterpretations by the Commentators; which lead the lay readers astray.."
 [more discussion truncated, read the original thread in the forum for complete details]


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