|But the summons
that came was of an entirely opposite nature.
In accordance with the practice in royal households, Queen Kaikeyi had a woman
companion and confidential servant. She was a hunch-back named Manthara. Being a distant
relation of the Queen, she claimed great intimacy with her.
Manthara is one of the best known
characters in the Raamaayana. Every man, woman and child in our land knows and detests
her, as the cause of Raama's exile, Dasaratha's death and an the sorrows which befell the