Author: Saraswati Nagpal
Published: 2011 by Kalyani Navyug Media (Campfire)
No. of Pages: 96 pages
Subthemes: Ramayana as told by Sita
Timeline: Same as the original Ramayana
Glimmering with colorful artwork and graphics, Sita: Daughter of the Earth, tells the tale of Ramayana as experienced by Sita. Heavy on style and picturesque panels, the graphic novel is tightly packed in terms of content and carefully wades through extra detail to make the plot engaging.
Largely focussing on Sita and her origins, the panels, in the beginning, introduce us to the wise, majestic, and magnanimous parents of Sita- King Janaka and Queen Sunaina. Protagonists of the graphic novel are introduced in the very beginning, even before the story unfolds, much like a manga. The beginning introduces the reader to Sita’s birth, her special bond with the goddess Bhudevi and her younger sibling Urmila. The character development is further accelerated by Sita’s love for wisdom and reading. The reader is introduced to her family life, her habits, and to the legend of the magical bow.
This is followed by Sita’s first encounter with Lord Rama and her fascination with him. The iconic scene of lifting the bow by Lord Rama is beautifully captured through the artwork, which works effectively to gravitate the reader whenever one feels too familiar with the plot (as an adult). The artwork and the text, both mimic the majestic grandeur of Ramayana and fulfill the purpose of this informative, which is both, mesmerizing to look at and informative to read.
Despite the challenges of tackling a plot too familiar to Indian readers and big jumps in the timeline, the storyline remains coherent and reaches a peak when Sita is first introduced to Lord Hanuman. Here, through a rhyme, the author covers all the advances lord Rama had made to free Sita from Ravana. The brevity seems largely satisfactory for an informative while bringing out all the important aspects and characters.
The panels depicting the battle move quickly and focus only on the main characters. The most striking panels are of the duels between- Lakshmana and Indrajit, and Lord Rama and Ravana. In a tone which is largely chosen for children and teenagers, the graphic novel drifts away from any complex questions about the narrative and is simply an abridged Ramayana told by Sita.
There is no specific symbolism in the graphic novel, the artwork is mostly reminiscent of an animated-tv series and adheres to merely one aim- an informative retelling of Ramayana for children and teenagers.
Grandeur and majesty of Ramayana are captured using colors and artwork inspired by animated tv series. The artwork is easy to decipher and focusses heavily on style, it is both enjoyable and mesmerizing to look at.