Uttara Kaanda by SL Bhyrappa

Uttara Kaanda book cover

Uttara Kaanda is SL Bhyrappa’s twenty-fourth novel. In this book, Sita looks back on her life—abandoned at birth and abandoned again by her husband. Her exile doesn’t end. Published by Westland, the book has been translated by Rashmi Terdal. 

You can read more about the book here:

When Rama tells Sita, ‘I fought for my clan’s glory, not for you.’ Do you expect Sita to remain unchanged?

On the original release of Uttara Kaanda, SL Bhyrappa’s twenty-fourth novel, the stalwart of Kannada literature said that he had been so overwhelmed by Valmiki’s Ramayana that he couldn’t go beyond Ayodhya Kaanda. However, the all-pervasiveness of the Rama discourse on Indian writing and philosophy compelled him to examine the final volume of the original epic: Uttara Kaanda. It was a revelation. In it, he saw Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita as humans. Lakshmana’s subservience to his brother was not absolute; power had changed Rama; and Sita never recovered from the humiliation of her banishment.

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When Rama tells Sita, ‘I fought for my clan’s glory, not for you.’ Do you expect sita to remain unchanged? On the original release of Uttara Kaanda, S.L. Bhyrappa's twenty-fourth novel, the stalwart of Kannada literature said that he had been so overwhelmed by Valmiki's Ramayana that he couldn't go beyond Ayodhya Kaanda. However, the all-pervasiveness of the Rama discourse on Indian writing and philosophy compelled him to examine the final volume of the original epic: Uttara Kaanda. It was a revelation. In it he saw Rama, Lakshmana and Sita as human. Lakshmana's subservience to his brother was not absolute; power had changed Rama; and Sita never recovered from the humiliation of her banishment. In Bhyrappa's Uttara Kaanda, Sita looks back on her life—abandoned at birth and abandoned again by her husband. Her entire life has been a quest for home, a sense of belonging. When they return from their long exile, Rama is anointed king of Ayodhya, but a pregnant Sita is sent away to live in a forest. Her exile doesn't end. Uttara Kaanda is Sita’s soliloquy: O Rama, I loved the pure man you were in your youth, not the man you have become—not this man who is shackled by the royal throne. My love for you died sixteen years ago. A master of detail, Bhyrappa mines the ancient epic to humanise characters who have, for centuries, been looked upon as gods beyond reproach, bringing us as close as we’ll ever come to understanding them.

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In Bhyrappa’s Uttara Kaanda, Sita looks back on her life — abandoned at birth and abandoned again by her husband. Her entire life has been a quest for home, a sense of belonging. When they return from their long exile, Rama is anointed king of Ayodhya, but a pregnant Sita is sent away to live in a forest. Her exile does not end.

Uttara Kaanda is Sita’s soliloquy: O Rama, I loved the pure man you were in your youth, not the man you have become — not this man who is shackled by the royal throne. My love for you died sixteen years ago. A master of detail, Bhyrappa mines the ancient epic to humanize characters who have, for centuries, been looked upon as gods beyond reproach, bringing us as close as we’ll ever come to understanding them.

About the Author

One of modern India’s most distinguished novelists, Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa (SL Bhyrappa) has been writing in Kannada for the past six decades. A formidable scholar of philosophy, history, and mythology, he has published twenty-four novels so far. Many of his books have been translated into English and several Indian languages ​​including Sanskrit. His profound and richly imagined novels, backed by extensive research, delve into the depths of the human psyche and society. He has received numerous awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award, Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award, and Pampa Award by the Government of Karnataka. The Government of India conferred on him the civilian honor of Padma Shri in 2016. He has received honorary doctorates for his contribution to literature from seven universities. 

Rashmi Terdal is a journalist with the Times of India, Bengaluru. Apart from her keen interest in socio-economic issues, she is passionate about Kannada poetry and fiction. She won the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Book Prize and Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati Award for her English translation of Mohanaswamy (2016), a collection of short stories in Kannada by eminent writer Vasudhendra.

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