The Untold Story Of Shurpanakha – Raavan’s Sister, And The Evil Asur Woman In Ramayan


Disclaimer: The article is based on mythological information, and is not meant to hurt any sentiments of any kind. Please do not read further if you’re not open to subjectivity.

Remember Shurpanakha, Raavan’s evil Sister from Ramayan. We’ve been listening to how she was so evil, how our good lord Raam denied her offer of marriage and how the great warrior Lakshman severed her nose. We’ve always been told how Shurpanakha, the ugly demon princess, was the root of all evil in the Ramayan.

But here’s something you might not have heard or thought about, a twist in the tale of the Asur Princess, Surpanakha:

The beginning

The demon princess was born as ‘Meenakshi’, believed to have the eyes like fish, and as beautiful as her mother. Her name Shurpanakha comes from her sharp nails (shurp+nakh). She was married off to Dushtabuddhi, an Asur, who was later for some reason killed by Raavan.


Demon or distressed damsel?

There are 2 versions, one says Shurpanakha was super ugly, had shrill voice, and a pot belly. Whereas the other one says she was a very beautiful woman, who also had magical powers and could take any shape and form.

Demon or DamselSource

Why she did what she did?

It’s believed that Shurpanakha first proposed to Ram, who (instead of refusing the proposal outright, decided to have some fun) turned her towards Lakshman, who then severed her nose.

One version of the story says she was attracted to Raam and jealous of Sita’s beauty. But there’s another version that says she planned all this to get Raavan, who slayed her husband, killed.

She believed that Raam, was the only one with Divine powers who could kill Raavan, so she pit him against her invincible brother.

Why surpanakha was evilSource

Who was she – An evil monster, or a woman who was wronged?

Believe any of the available versions of her story you’d like to, but none justifies the way Raam and Lakshman made fun of her feelings, and none would validate two warriors severing a woman’s nose.

Was Surpanakha EvilSource

Or maybe a feminist of her time, whom the world never understood!

She was a woman who was insulted by two princes because of her looks, when she proposed to them, which caused the rage. Her mistake was lacking the coyness that Sita had. She was a woman who wouldn’t want to be an object of beauty. She could be the most misunderstood character in Ramayan.

Shurpanakha was a FeministSource

She finally got married to Raam

She prayed to Lord Brahma in Pushkar and got married to Raam in the next birth, as Kubja, one of the 16000 wives of Krishna (Raam’s reincarnation).

Krishna and KubjaSource

Sita and Shurpanakha met and shared a good conversation

As per some versions, when Raam abandoned Sita in the forest, she met Shurpanakha, burning with vengeance. But Sita offered her berries, freeing her from her victimhood, “Humans are never satisfied with justice. You trap yourself in your own victimhood. Who loses, but you?”

When Sita and Surpanakha MetSource

Shurpanakha finally took the berries.

As per Devdutt Pattanaik’s Sita, “It was indeed sweet, sweeter than any lover’s impatient, lustful gaze. She ate another berry and smiled. ‘Now I will race you to the river,’ shouted Sita as she ran for the stream. Surpanakha giggled as she jumped into the waters. Once again she felt beautiful.”


Don’t you think we should all try to be a little more compassionate? Don’t you think Shurpanakha’s story taught us why we must, sometimes free ourselves and just enjoy the sweet berries.

Let us celebrate the nature that never betrays as human does, let us all inspire each other as Sita inspired Shurpanakha, let us not forget how sweet berries taste! :)

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