Review of Rukmini - The epitome of womanhood

Name: Rukmini: Krishna’s Wife

Author: Saiswaroopa Iyer

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Pages: 240

Princess Rukmini of Vidharba went on to become the better-half of Lord Krishna after an interesting series of adventures. The events leading to her heroic abduction on the day of her wedding with wily Shishupala of Chedi, would have a made for a perfect masala Bollywood flick. All is well that ends well when she became the Queen of Dwaraka. But what became of Rukmini after her wedding? Was she yet another beautiful, trophy wife of Krishna just as many queens went down the history? The answer is no and let’s find out more.

The Voice of Sudharma

The book raised my curiosity about what the real role of Rukmini was. The author Saiswaroopa Iyer does not disappoint the reader. She was a born rebellion who loved horses and was a proficient charioteer. Well-versed in espionage, she even managed to help Krishna and Balarama to escape the eyes of Jarasandha’s spies from Vidharbha. Being wedded into the Yadava clan, best suited the warrior side of her nature. A few months into her marriage, Lord Krishna’s father King Vasudeva requests Rukmini to join Sudharma, the famed sabha of the Yadava clan. It’s interesting to note that Rukmini became the strong female voice of this sabha. Beyond being a mute spectator to pollical discussions, she was quite vocal about her thoughts. So much so that, Sudharma felt incomplete without the participation of the royal woman of Dwaraka.

In Perfect Sync with Krishna

Rukmini proved to be the best-suited wife of Krishna. As Satyabhama, yet another wife of Krishna points out in the story that she and Krishna were like-minded. Although, she was unhappy with certain decisions of Krishna, she extended her full support but not before confronting him. For instance, when Krishna decided to wed the women rescued from the captive of Bhauma, she was initially skeptical. But she also understands his decision to rehabilitate the women.

There were episodes in Rukmini’s life that would drive any other woman to insecurities. She suspected that Krishna was one of the suitors at her good friend Draupadi’s swayamvara. Soon after her wedding, she was a joined by a battalion of co-wives like Sathyabhama, Jambavathi and so on. But she always loved Krishna and accepted all her co-wives as her own sisters. She proved to be the envy of his other wives including the smart and beautiful Satyabhama, who was from the Yadu clan.

Warrior Queen and the Wise Counsellor

Rukmini proved her mettle as a warrior. In addition to being the moral support of Krishna, she never refrained warding off attacks by enemies. She was also quite proficient with handling the sword. Rukmini was also a woman of wits and a great strategist. She surprised Krishna with her presence of mind. For instance, King Jarasandha proved to be a constant threat to Dwaraka and waging a war against him was a costly affair. So, she suggested that they come up with a plan to assassinate him. When Dwaraka was going to be ravaged by the fury of nature, she took up the mantle of evacuating the people to a safer place. Towards the end of novel, she witnesses decline of the Yadava clan and the end of Krishna. While the other wives decide to jump into the pyre, Rukmini decides to live on.

Rukmini: A Complete Woman

Author Saiswaroopa Iyer presents Rukmini is a new light. However, one never feels let down by either the character or the presentation. The tone of the narration remains simple lending a natural touch to the story. She has done an earnest job in unveiling the lesser-known side of Rukmini. A poignant tale that is sure to touch many hearts with her accolades.  

Janani Rajeswari is a freelance journalist who feels writing is a way of staying happy and positive. She teaches foreign languages. She also loves music, pets, books, movies, art and craft and learning new languages.