Home 2020 Janaki


by Mallika Ravikumar
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Kavita was upset. She had just found out that her best friend Riya had been born from her mama’s tummy in a hospital, just like all her other friends and cousins. Kavita wondered why she wasn’t born from her mama’s tummy like them. Kavita had come from a Children’s Home.

Nani could read her granddaughter’s mind.

“Kavita come and have some besan ladoos!” Nani said to cheer her up. “No!” Kavita pushed the plate away. She was not in the mood.

“Alright then,” said Nani. “Come, let me tell you a story.” “No Nani,” Kavita refused again. But Nani insisted and drew Kavita near.

A story could do magic. And Nani had just the right story to make Kavita smile again.

Many years ago there lived a wise and kind king called Janak who ruled the kingdom of Videha. The people of Videha were happy to have a good and just King like him.

Now kings did not usually till the land but Janak was no ordinary King. To mark the beginning of the sowing season, Janak joined the farmers one morning to plough the field.

Driving his plough into the soft rich soil, Janak was alarmed when he suddenly heard a baby.

Turning to look around, Janak saw a beautiful little baby girl in a furrow on the ground. He lifted the baby in his arms and the little one gurgled. She had large lovely eyes and instantly smiled at him.


Now kings did not usually till the land but Janak was no ordinary King. To mark the beginning of the sowing season, Janak joined the farmers one morning to plough the field.

Janak’s heart was filled with joy. She was the most beautiful baby he had seen.

“I take this little girl to be my daughter!” Janak announced, holding her up.

“What?” cried an old man in the crowd that had gathered around the King. “How can this be?”

“What is the matter?” Janak asked looking up.



“The old man remained silent.

“Do not hesitate. Speak!” ordered the King.

“I was only saying…that…that the little baby is not born to Queen Sunaina and King Janak. How then can she be their baby?” the old man said softly.

“How dare you speak to the King like that?” the royal guard interrupted.

“No! Don’t stop him,” said Janak. “I must find an answer to his question.”

Sitting under the shade of a Peepal tree, Janak thought about what the old man had said: The little girl he had found in the furrow was not born to Queen Sunaina and him. How then could she be their daughter?

As he searched for an answer in his mind, the answer emerged from somewhere else.

The little baby in his arms, tapped his nose, pulling him out from his thoughts. He looked into her beautiful eyes and smiled.

“‘A father he said,’ as he tickled the little one’s toes to make her laugh, ‘is made from the heart!


“‘A father he said,’ as he tickled the little one’s toes to make her laugh, ‘is made from the heart!

“That’s it!” remarked the wise king. “I have found the answer to your question,” he said, turning to the old man.

“‘Fatherhood is born not from the seed, but from the heart,” said Janak.

“This baby has won my heart. I take her to be my daughter with all my heart. And that is what matters,” the King added, looking up at the Heavens in gratitude.

“From this day on, this child will be known as Janaki, the daughter of Janak,” the wise king said, looking down at the infant gurgling in his arms.

The people of Videha cheered. They were happy that their king had been blessed with a beautiful daughter.

The world knows that little girl as Sita.

Nani finished reading the story and turned to Kavita as she closed the book.


‘So, Sita was not born from her mother’s tummy?’ Kavita asked, wide-eyed.

‘No!’ replied Nani. ‘She came from a furrow in the ground. In fact, the name Sita itself means furrow.’


Kavita knew the Ramayana was the most enduring epic story of India.

That Sita from the epic should be like her, made Kavita smile again.

Something inside her felt better.


Ladoos?’Nani offered once more.

This time Kavita couldn’t refuse and helped herself to her favourite sweets.

‘Nani…I’ve got to go!’ she said, after eating a plateful of ladoos.


‘Where are you going?’ Nani asked.

‘To meet Riya!’ replied Kavita. ‘I have to tell her and all my friends the story of Sita,’ she said, getting up to leave.

‘Sita…the girl from the furrow,’ said Kavita turning to Nani, with a confident smile.


Sita, the heroine of the Ramayana, the great Indian epic, was found in a furrow by her father King Janak. The name Sita is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘seeta’ which means furrow. Sita is known by many other names. Popular among them are Janaki, the daughter of Janak and Vaidehi, the princess of Videha. Loved by the people of Mithila, the kingdom’s capital city, she is also called Mythili. Born from the earth, she is known also as Bhumija. The tale of Sita from the Ramayana has endured through the ages. Through classical and folk music, dance and art forms, Sita continues to live on in Indian culture and remains one of the most popular characters of Indian mythology. Sita is one amongst the dozens of characters from Indian mythology, who is adopted.


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