A line. A simple word, yet so many connotations. A simple stroke of the brush that later gives birth to creative masterpieces, a phrase that stands out in a poetic verse or a limit set in stone, one that must not be crossed. It can be argued that a line is the origin of most of the things we see, or do.
One of the most notable lines in Indian Mythology is the Laxman Rekha. This story comes to us from regional Ramayanas like the Bengali Krittivasa Ramayana and the Telugu Ranganatha Ramayana.
The story simply goes that Laxmana draws a line around the periphery of Sita’s hut when he leaves to answer Rama’s pleas for help. We all know what follows next. Sita crosses the rekha to serve a saint, who is Ravana in disguise, thus leaving herself vulnerable to Ravana’s attempts to abduct her.
There are many interpretations of this event, as it yields a different metaphorical meaning to everyone. In modern-day life, the Laxman Rekha refers to a strict convention or rule, that mustn’t be broken without expecting severe repercussions. A recent example would be the usage of this term by the Prime Minister of India. He used it to stress on the fact that everyone must stay home, and not cross the threshold of their houses.
To me, the Rekha is a line drawn by society, forcing Sita to stay within her bounds, restricting her to take care of the household and wait for her husband. It is a line etched by patriarchy.
I feel that Sita purposely stepped over the line. She wanted to see what would happen if she broke free of expectations. She took charge of her own destiny, doing what she felt was right. Without risk, we can never get a story. I mean, would there have been a Ramayana if Sita had not crossed the line?
– Tanvi Jain, Delhi Public School, Noida1 Like