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The Goddess as Role ModelSita and Radha in Scripture and on Screen$
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Heidi R. M. Pauwels

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369908

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369908.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2020

 Sexual Harassment

 Sexual Harassment

Sītā Abducted and Rādhā Accosted at the Well

(p.379) 6 Sexual Harassment
The Goddess as Role Model

Heidi R. M. Pauwels (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 studies how goddesses react when accosted by “the other man.” It compares the sexual harassment scenario of Sita's abduction with the eve‐teasing scenario of the Gopis’ being accosted at the well (panaghata‐lila). Sita's abductor is a villain and she resists him valiantly, but the Gopis fall for their accoster, Krishna. Sita's abduction on television is shown to be partly due to her crossing the Lakshman‐rekha or protective circle drawn by her brother‐in‐law (not mentioned in the earlier sources). Notwithstanding her mistake, even in hardship she remains true to dharma. In the medieval versions, the Gopis are worried about transgressing against dharma, but their love for Krishna ultimately overrides these concerns. The televised version downplays this scandal and popular film shows little sympathy for women once seduced. While the perpetrator of harassment is punished, the eve‐teaser gets off mostly scot‐free, but the victim of either is always blamed. Movie songs discussed are from Mughal‐e‐Azam, Satyam Shivam Sundarama, and Devdas. Movies discussed are Lajja and Mother India.

Keywords:   sexual harassment, eve‐teasing, abduction, panaghata‐lila, Lakshman‐rekha, Mughal‐e‐Azam, Satyam Shivam Sundarama, Devdas, Lajja, Mother India

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