By: Ipshita Rajesh
Excerpt: Stories have always fascinated me. The Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata are neither black, nor white and it is this characteristic that lends them beautifully to retellings and interpretations. Not only are these stories a great source of material for art works, but also help one reflect.
Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, had four sons borne to him by his three wives - Rama from Kaushalya, Bharata from Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana and Shatrughna from Sumitra. Being the eldest,
Rama was the obvious heir to the throne. But Manthara, Kaikeyi’s maidservant, poisoned her ears, arousing jealousy. Kaikeyi now wanted her son Bharata to be crowned king, so she demanded of Dasharatha two boons that he had promised her earlier - first, that Bharata be crowned, and second, that Rama be exiled for fourteen years, and Dasharatha had no choice but to yield.
Instead of being happy, Bharata was saddened by this news, since he respected and loved his elder brother Rama dearly, and hated to see him go. While Rama was away, someone had to look into the affairs of the kingdom, and so it came to be that Bharata was the pseudo-king, ruling according to the principles of Rama, and took inspiration from a pair of Rama’s padukas (1) that he had placed on the throne.
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