Ahalya the name, till now, symbolized a sinful woman who atone her infidelity by turning into a stone. Ahalya as said in Hindu literature, was the most beautiful woman on earth; created by Brahma himself. She was not born, but created using all the beauty of this world.
She was married to a great ‘Maharishi‘ (sage) Gautam. Gautam was much older to her and was not into worldly pleasures much. Indra, the king of God, was however, enticed with Ahalya beauty. Indra wanted to have her at any cost. Even knowing that she is the wife of maharishi Gautam, did not deter Indra from his bad intentions.
So one day, in the absence of Gautam, Indra disguised in the form of Gautam comes to Ahalya and raped her. I would like to use the word Rape because if Indra is in disguise of her husband, even if she did something willingly, it was improper and not with her consent.
Gautam came to know of it, and in result he curse Ahalya to turn into a stone and suffer for eternity till Lord Rama will come and liberate her of this curse. Rama touches the stone turned Ahalya with his foot, and she turn back to her beautiful self. She is purified now and Gautam returns back to accept her back as his wife.
This may sound too extreme when you try to play this story in modern times. It’s the same way a rape victim is punished for the crime that others did to her. Ahalya is the face of our patriarchal society. In modern times, if this would happen to any woman, a lot of feminist groups would raise their voice against it.
It seems so inhumane.
Sujoy Ghosh, the maverick, as I like to call him, has tried to do justice to Ahalya, by liberating her, without introducing any Rama in her story.
In Sujoy‘s story, Ahalya is a mystery woman, who is confident and knows her strength. She is no longer a second fiddle to Gautam. Instead as Gautam said, it is her who has inspired him for all his creations. She is the muse and master both. You will understand this as you will reach the end.
Do watch it. It will only take your 14 minutes, but it may change the image of a helpless woman who was victimized for others crimes. Here is the link again.
- This 14-Minute Bengali Thriller Will Have You At The Edge Of Your Seat(buzzfeed.com)
- Digital platform is the future: Sujoy Ghosh(freepressjournal.in)
- The Ramayana: Epic love story in Ayodhya(ireport.cnn.com)