The petitioner, a Sitamarhi in Bihar advocate named Thakur Chandan Singh, has recently sued Lord Rama and his brother Laxman, for “insulting” Sita without verifying facts. He stated in his petition that “the Devi was exiled (given ‘vanvasa’) for no fault of hers. It was a hypocritical order from Lord Rama. How can a man become so cruel to his wife that he sends her off to live in a forest?” The court heard the case and asked the petitioner that if suppose Rama is found guilty then to whom the court should punish?
Chandan has claimed that injustice towards women has began in Treta Yug (When Lord Rama ruled Ayodhya), and said that until the women from Treta Yug are not given justice, women in Kalyug won’t get it either. Not surprisingly, the incident has left the social media in splits.
If you refer Ramayana, then Shri Rama never doubted his wife but it was the people of Ayodhya began to talk on this subject. The main objection of people regarding Sita, was that Raavan had approached her in the form of a ‘Bhikshuk’ and as a ‘Brahmin’ he was perfectly eligible to do that, and Sita who disobeying crossed Laxman Rekha and had gone to Raavan. When Rama fought with Raavan and won the battle and acquired Sita again, there was confusion created regarding the role of Shri Rama in Agni Pariksha order given to Sita. The question still remains to answer, whether Shri Rama supported or opposed the Agni Pariksha.
However, Ram is not called Maryada Purushottam just to mark a respect towards him. He always respected the existing tradition (Maryada) of that time. Shri Rama respected the citizens. He respected the people’s talks. He declared that Sita had to pass the Agni Pariksha test so that he could accept her again. Laxman strongly opposed this. Yet, the victorious army chief insisted that Agni Pariksha was the only thing which could make him accept her. Sita agreed and after the satisfactory completion of the ritual ‘Agni Pariksha’, Shri Rama gladly accepted her back as his wife.
Rama had ordered Agni Pariksha not because he had personally doubted Sita but the demands of his praja and dharma as a king he said Sita to take a test. He knew that she is innocent but he had to show his praja (subject) that unlike his father, he was not a slave to a woman. It was an act of sacrifice for him as well. He also suffered a lot and lived an ascetic life thereafter.
Returning back to Ayodhya after killing Raavan, Rama was coroneted as King of Ayodhya. Shri Rama was the king who had inherited the throne of great King Dasrath, which was subsequently and ably ruled by Bharat on behalf of Shri Rama. They had an efficient system of obtaining feedback from the public on the basis of which laws were made for the welfare of the public when these brother and their dynasty was so particular about people of kingdom and their opinion.
“Our king might accept a wife who had stayed in another man’s home but not me,” on hearing a washer man this sentence questioning the purity of the Queen of Ayodhya, Lord Rama decides to send a pregnant Mata Sita to the forest. Rama is the ideal king and for a modern reader, this might be seen as heights of stupidity and absurdity. A modern reader would want Lord Rama to stand by his wife and defend her and not to fall for the irresponsible prattle of his foolish prajas. If Lord Rama had sent the washer man questioning the purity of Mata Sita to prison, he would be performing the duty of a husband, but if he had done that then will he be performing the duty of a King? Lord Rama could have beheaded the washer man on the spot, then there were whole praja those were questioning the same, will he be able to behead all those? If he then Lord Rama would have been given the title of a ‘dictator’! Would we worship such a Lord Rama today?
In fact, if you believe in Ramayana then you might know that Rama suffered more than Sita. He was lonely in the huge palace. He was always immersed in the thought of Sita. He had to bear the voidness created by Mata Sita’s departure. He was filled with remorse – a husband who had to send his pregnant wife away. But Rama did his Dharma, he upheld the accepted standards of ideal kinghood.
Leaving Rama and Sita, there are thousands & thousands of cases in the history of India where husband abandoned wife who were raped or abused by sighting this incidence in Ramayana. If story was such that Shri Rama had accepted Mata Sita irrespective of Agni Pariksha results then the teaching would have been more powerful. Anyway, wasting time of judiciary on mythological issues is not fair. Moreover, if someone is found guilty, whom should the court punish? Now, defining the facts can change the present?