Riot- By Shashi Tharoor
From Priscilla Hart’s scrapbook
July 16th, 1989
Learned something interesting about the Hindu God Ram, the one all the fuss is about these days.Seems that when he brought his wife Sita back from Lanka and became King, the gossips in the kingdom were whispering that after so many months in Raavna’s captivity, she couldn’t possibly be chaste anymore. So to stop the tongues wagging,he subjected her to an agni pariksha,a public ordeal by fire, to prove her innocence. She walked through the flames unscathed. A certified pure woman.
That stopped the gossips for a while, but before long the old rumors surfaced again. It was beginning to affect Ram’s credibility as king. So he spoke to her about it. What could Sita do? She willed the earth to open up, literally, and swallow her. That was the end of the gossip. Ram lost the woman he had warred to win back, but he ruled on as a wise and beloved king.
What the hell does this say about India? Appearances are more important than truths. Gossip is more potent than facts.Loyalty is all one way, from the woman to the man. And when society stacks up all the odds against a woman, she better not count on the man’s support. She has no way out other than to end her own life.
And I’m in love with an Indian. I must be crazy.
He may be in love and in trouble. It does not matter right now. He is also the writer of the above lines and for right now, that’s all that matters.