Lakshman Rekha

It was sunset in Patiala. Some male students were playing soccer on the small field next to the Facility Block. A few more played pick-up games on the courts. Young couples, murmuring before curfew, sat on benches up and down the main road that runs next to the hostels.  As it grew darker I walked with several groups towards the hostels.

IMG_1241One of my student friends pointed out for me the Lakshman Rekha, the line not to be crossed.

Below the lamplight, the bump in the road is the Lakshman Rekha. In the distance are the girls' hostels.

Below the lamplight, the bump in the road is the Lakshman Rekha. In the distance are the girls’ hostels.

According to Hindu legend, the Lakshman Rekha was the line drawn by Lakshman to protect Sita, wife of the God Rama. Lakshman was Rama’s brother, charged with the protection of Sita while Rama was away chasing a golden deer. When Rama did not return, Sita begged Lakshman to venture out and search for him. To fulfill his charge and duty to Rama, Lakshman enclosed Sita in a magical ringed line (rekha). If anyone (other than Rama, Sita, or Lakshman) attempted to cross the line, he would be burned by flames springing from the line.

I asked “What would happen if a boy crossed the line?” “He would certainly be punished,” was the answer I received.

As 7 pm approached, the young men said goodnight to their ladies. Young women walked quickly to the hostel gate. Many greeted me as I said goodnight to them, from their side of the Lakshman Rekha.



The guard and matron stood sentry at the gate while the college coeds filed through.

Shivani and Dr. Jennifer

By 7 pm, Sita was again protected.


I walked back to the Guest House on a deserted road.


The men continued to play soccer and pick-up games on the lit courts.


About Jennifer Drobac

R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law~ I began my journey in the San Francisco Bay area. A student at CPS in Oakland and then at Stanford University, I worked for several years before attending law school, again at Stanford. A trip around the world after taking the California Bar introduced me to more distant lands than I had seen during school days. I returned to clerk for Judge Barefoot Sanders in Dallas, Texas where I gave birth to Michal McDowell-- the best first born daughter and future doctor one can imagine. When she was two, we moved to Santa Cruz, California where I opened my own law practice. After I earned my doctoral degree (in law) at Stanford, I hit the road again and settled here in Indiana where I teach at IU McKinney. As I anticipate exploring the world again as a Fulbright Specialist (starting in India), I start this blog. A travel log of adventures in midlife!
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2 Responses to Lakshman Rekha

  1. rv167 says:

    Great way to learn about Mythology,right?

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