In this day and age, would Ram abandon Sita just because of public opinion?
No. First of all, in any day and age including the present millennium, marital relationships cannot be contested by public opinion.
Second of all, because the right to abandon one’s marital partner doesn’t exist anymore. Except for love, now the husband and wife relationship is not tied together by any dependability factors. If abandon is the norm then Sita would be the one fit to abandon Ram, for his misconstrued and biased decisions.
Third of all the central opinion would not have been only Rama’s, even if he is a mighty ruler of a country. It would have been his and Sita’s opinion either to stay together or call off the relationship.
Ramayana is necessarily the story of ram, the idealist. But if you look closer, even Ram’s position on the so-called social pedestal was because he never erred and could accomplish this in an ideal world that was full of moral, god-fearing subjects. The Prince was their ruler and exemplar. But today right could be wrong and wrong could be easily argued as the right thing. The lines of demarcation are blurring and social media has given voice and right to speak up to each citizen. There would have been distracters and wreckers all the way for Ram to have him tripped. Being godlike is to quit living now.
In today’s context, most marital relationships work under agreements and adjustments-everything spoken and documented before the marriage. Women have taken up challenging careers and in many places, there have been role reversals too. So it’s just not possible for a man to discard his partner or call the marriage quits. If a crisis presents itself, which it does almost everyday between husbands and wives of today, the most logical would have been to approach a counselor to voice their individual woes and arrive at a collective decision. But if nothing works and there is bitterness to be endured, the relationship sorts itself out.
All said and done, there is no benchmark for character standards. Anyone lives once and they have to live it fully- making mistakes and learning from their mistakes too. Mistakes are not the end of lives.
Even if there was a public opinion that was against Sita, Ram need not pay heed, particularly since he is an inspiration and a social influencer. He needs to take a stand based on his own perception of the problem and the solution for it.
Aside from the abandon, outside of their marriage, Ram and Sita have so many inspiring qualities. Ram, the eldest of the Princes was a tolerant team player who had the endurance for the toughest of life’s tests. Sita, the only daughter of a just King Janaka was a strong, decisive woman who could maintain her individuality against all odds.
Ram and Sita’s marriage wasn’t just based on an official alliance. It was love at first sight. Moreover, Ram proved his valor to become eligible to marry Sita. So having invested enough in the relationship both proved to have individual and collective stands to combat the crisis that was to come out of their marriage and relationship. There wouldn’t have been any need for a public opinion at all.
Vijayalakshmi Sridhar’s stories explore human relationships and their dynamics. She is enjoying her journey as a writer of fiction and features.