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The core conflict in the primary epic, even an undergraduate literature student learns, is about the honour of a woman – Sita, Draupadi, Helen. The story spreads over war against the villain to restore that honour, to take the old, familiar world back to normal. Now take a closer view and what you get to know is that essentially every war is about territory, brute assertion of a potentate’s might to capture, control someone else’s land. And a deeper reading of the fertility myths in almost every culture shows the woman, or the female deity, as an extension of earth. This sublimation of human relationships into the elements has been elegantly captured by the Rigveda: The Earth is mother; I am son of Earth The Raingiver is my father; may he shower on us blessings! (Rigveda: 5.84)

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