Monthly Archives: March 2010

Too many Ramayanas- conclusion

These series of articles are an attempt by me to bring into picture, how diversified Ramayana is! Please note that I’m not trying to address or survey all the possible tellings of Ramayana. That’s beyond my scope! My readers are mainly youth and this is an attempt by me to not let these cultures die. I’ve tried to be as suggestive as possible, rather than being judgemental. Continue reading

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Too many Ramayanas- women’s Ramayana

According to my teacher– “fiction has one narrative but fact has many”. Ramayana is probably the most fascinating story India has created, and every other man has his own story to tell, and women are not far behind! One such telling is by the Brahmin women of Andhra who sing approximately twenty-five popular Ramayana songs. Continue reading

Too many Ramayanas- redifining cultural dilemmas

A great Bengali author Michael Madusudan Dutt, a born Hindu, was attracted by Christianity. he converted. Yet his love for the Hindu mythology dawned a new era in the Bengali literature. His masterpiece, Meghnad Badh Kabya (the slaying of Meghnada) reflects the complexity of contact between Indian and British culture. Being a Bengali myself, I have heard my parents and grandparents praise his work. Continue reading

Too many Ramayanas- Jaina tellings

The Jaina texts express the feeling that the Hindus have maligned Ravana and made him into a villain. Here is a set of questions that a Jaina text begins by asking- “How can monkeys vanquish the powerful raksasa warriors like Ravana? How can noble men and Jaina worthies like Ravana eat flesh and drink blood? How can Kumbhakarna sleep through six months of the year, and never wake up even though boiling oil was poured into his cars, elephants were made to trample over him, and war trumpets and conches blow around him? They are lies and contrary to reason.” Continue reading

Too many Ramayanas- the hindu and buddhist tellings

Rama’s story has been told in many religions. Although the Rama story is not, as such, a Hindu story, the Hindu versions are very ancient. In this article, I’d like to stress upon one thing- The characters and happenings of Ramayana can be looked from a variety of religious traditions including, and not limited to, Hinduism. Continue reading

Too many Ramayanas- focus on characters

In my previous post, I had mentioned that there exist many versions of Ramayana, and confronting one over the other will only narrow down our perspective and eventually lead to great cultural loss. Continue reading

Too many Ramayanas- the doordarshan impact

January 25, 1987, to July 31, 1988- the period when Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana was aired on Doordarshan. This show rose to hold the world record of being the world’s most viewed mythological serial. It was primarily based on Valmiki’s Ramayana and Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas. It is also partly derived from portions of Kamban’s Kambaramayanam. The televised Ramayana did, however, disturb some observers, who worried that the Doordarshan version might come to dominate other tellings of the story. Among them was Romila Thapar. Continue reading