IN­TER­VIEW

India Today - - LEISURE - —with Moeena Halim

Q: Sita is typ­i­cally de­scribed as de­mure. How did your stick-wield­ing war­rior princess take shape? Amish Tri­pathi (AT): The Sita we know is largely based on the char­ac­ter in the 1980s TV show, which was mod­elled on the 16th cen­tury Ram­char­it­manas. The more an­cient ver­sions show her as a far stronger char­ac­ter. In the Adb­huta Ra­mayana, she’s a fighter, and in the Gond Ra­mayana, she’s the one who kills Ra­vana. My in­ter­pre­ta­tion is an amal­ga­ma­tion of the an­cient ver­sions.

Q: What do you en­joy about mythol­ogy?

AT: The word ‘mythol­ogy’ comes from the Greek word ‘mythos’—a story that hides a philo­soph­i­cal truth. The story is just a wrap­per for the core truth, to at­tract you to the phi­los­o­phy which could be dry or a bit in­tense oth­er­wise.

Q: Who is your favourite de­ity?

AT: Lord Shiva, be­cause he’s a re­bel­lious god. There’s so much to ad­mire about him— he’s a rule breaker, a bril­liant dancer, a mu­si­cian, ob­ses­sively in love with his wife. Q: Are you reli­gious? AT: Yes, cer­tainly. I do the ri­tu­als that make sense to me. I wear a ru­draksh mala, a kada on my wrist and so on. But I don’t pour milk on a Shivling. I’d rather give the milk to some­one in need.

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