Kaikeyi - The Untold Story of Ramayana
International Journal of English Language, Literature in Humanities, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 31, 2019
Ramayana the epic for its greatness owes a lot to the characters of Kaikeyi and Manthra. Ramayana has been composed to glorify the victory of the nobility of Rama over the evil of Ravana. Rama has been portrayed as an ideal man who possesses all possible noble qualities and as a role model for societies of all ages. The other characters by their small or large role act as catalysts to enrich his greatness. Of the various characters in the Ramayana, the female characters portray no less importance. The characters of Sita, Kaushalya, Mandodri, Trijata, Tara, Urmila, Kaikeyi and Manthra are prominent and play a vital role in the unfolding of the epic. These characters rise eminently with real performance of their roles of mothers, wives or daughters. The feminine characters beautifully display the rise and fall of the elements of human psychology. However, the character of Kaikeyi holds a separate place as it is she who changes the course of the epic.
Initially, in the epic, the three queens Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi had harmonious relationship amongst them. However, an environment of strained relations and disbelief soon generates as the story unfolds. The attributory vices of Kaikeyi's characters that are generally visible include jealousy, cruelty and surmounting ambitions. However, the less visible attributes of her character include her simple-heartedness, loving nature, bravery, and her repentance.
The typical portrayal of Kaikeyi's character by the majority of the writers is that of a woman whose ambitions led to the ordeals and miseries of others such as the death of Dasaratha, and the exile of Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita. However, a critical view of the epic displays enough pieces of evidence of positivity in the character of Kaikeyi. Therefore, there exists a need for a detailed analysis of Kaikeyi's character in the light of a comparative study of the epic written by many sages, poets and writers such as Valmiki, Tulsidas, Maithili Sharan Gupt, R K Narayan, Kamban. This paper shall endeavour to bring forth this less-discussed aspect of Kaikeyi's character from the epic.
This paper tries and explores the different versions of the epic with a vision to spell out the positivity of Kaikeyi's character which has remained a little unexplored region. Texts such as the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ramcharitmanas, the Adhyatma Ramayana, the Kamba Ramayanam, the Kashmiri Ramayana, and the Ramayana Mimansa have been explored and analyzed. The paper attempts a textual analysis, and thus a majority of observations are substantiated by relevant references as thematic corroborations from different versions of the epic. Transliteration has not been carried out or endeavoured.
Keywords: Ramayana, Rama, Kaikeyi, women, character, personality, religion, Hinduism
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