<Disclaimer: Not to criticize anyone, just to praise Urmila>
Dear Urmila (Mrs.Lakshman),
This letter comes to you from the Kalyug where people have grown listening to the tales of Ramayana and worshiping lord Rama. Here, everyone talks about the sacrifices that Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman have made, which are truly unbelievable but rarely have I seen anyone praising you for the love and sacrifice that you made. I take this opportunity to tell you dear Urmila that even though you are a forgotten heroine of Indian literature, your sacrifices are truly unparalleled and I believe Ramayana would be incomplete without you.
The ageless stones of Ayodhya talks about you as a wife that every man would want to have. Your committed love needs no accreditation to affirm you as one of the most supportive wives of Indian history. Who do you think would stay away from her husband for fourteen years only so that her husband can serve his brother? I don’t know if this is how it used to be in the Treta Yug, but it’s undeniably something implausible to think of in the Kalyug. The way you valued your husband has touched my heart. You were advised by Lakshman not to accompany him in the forest and like a loving partner, you agreed. You willingly asked the Goddess of sleep (Nidra) to give you Lakshman’s share of slumber so that he could be wide-awake in exile to serve his brother and sister-in-law. Some fables tell that you remained asleep until Lakshman returned to Ayodhya and few narrate you to have spent lifeless days as if you were asleep, tending to your duties but without the slightest bit of spirit. The history reveals that Meghnad (Ravana’s brother) could only be killed by someone who had not slept for years and I attribute this victory to your sacrifices. As the story follows Ram, Sita and Lakshman, you are left behind unseen and unheard. I wish I could redraft Ramayana to give you your share of credits, unlike Valmiki who gave you three-four lines in his version.
I bow to the epic love that Lakshman and you shared, you both surrendered to each other completely. If Lakshman fulfilled his responsibility being a devoted brother, you stood with him like his shield to support him through that challenging time. Isn’t it what love is all about? I feel sorry that you didn’t receive the praise that you were worthy of. The ‘Ram-Darbaar’ encompasses idols of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman. How could the creator not add you as a part of it? It’s pitiful to see that your sacrifices are not talked about; you are not remembered for your unspoken love. How could the history leave you behind in the leaves of oblivion? The last detail we get of your life is that you had two sons, Angad and Chitraketu. And then you fade into the crowd of minor characters that populate the Ramayana, living out the rest of their lives unseen to readers.
Today, I confess that I would die to become a wife like you. The changing times have not changed the essence of love that centuries have seen. Let me tell you Urmila that you are a star, someone exemplary and a resilient personality in my eyes. If Ramayana is about Ram’s valiant triumph over Ravana, it’s also about Urmila’s inaudible agony, without which the epic wouldn’t have unfolded. In this era where I live, Sita, your elder sister is a portrayal of how a woman should be. Today, I add your name in addition to hers as someone to idealize. You were an ideal wife and I salute you.
Just another name from the Kalyug!