Bengaluru: Ramayana is an epic revered by millions for millions of years. 

Lord Rama is a venerated figure and has earned the epithet “purushottama” which translates to “best of men”. 

On this #Womendsday2020 let’s revisit the great epic, but instead of focusing our lens on the protagonist Lord Rama, let’s try to give some space to a lesser known character Surpanakha. 

As we all know, Surpanakha is the younger sister of demon king Ravana. 

We would also be aware of the incident in which Lord Rama’s younger brother Lakshmana chopped her nose off as a punitive measure. 

But let’s look at some lesser-known facts about the character and what role she played in the epic.  

1.    Surpanakha means sharp nails. 

2.    She was named Meenakshi which means “fish-eyed”. It is said she was extremely beautiful like her mother. 

3.    She was married to another demon king Dushtabuddhi. She was loved by her brother Ravana extremely. But the story goes that Ravana was frustrated by Dushtabuddhi’s greed and avarice, so he himself got him killed. 

4.    As strange a it may sound, Surpanakha proposed to Lord Rama in a forest. But Lord Rama turned her towards his brother Lakshmana. It is said she attacked Sita, Lord Rama’s wife, because she thought Sita would be an impediment. It is due to this fact that her nose was severed. 

5.    Now many of you might be aware that this act of rage by Lakshmana that incited Ravana to plan and abduct Sita. But as other versions of Ramayana aver, Surpanakha had no real romantic interest in Lord Rama. But in order to avenge her husband’s killing by her own brother Ravana, she fastidiously hatched a ploy to get Ravana killed. But how would that happen? Surpanakha very well knew that it was Lord Rama who had the shtick to kill Ravana. That is the reason she approached him and orchestrated the entire plot, thus ending up fulfilling her mission.  

6. As per a certain purana, Surpanakha penanced at Pushkara lake (in Rajasthan) so that she would get a chance to pray to Lord Brahma and reveal her feelings to marry Lord Rama in her next birth. It is said she was born as Kubja, a woman with a hunchback who became one of the wives of Lord Krishna, considered to be an incarnation of Rama.