Thursday, July 2, 2015

300 Ramayans or 3000 !

Some excerpt from A K Ramanujan's wonderful essay exploring the genre or gene-pool of Ramayan stories

Ahilya and Indra's story : Valmiki's colourful version and Kamban's sedate one

Meta-ness of Ramayans

Global journey of Ramayan genre

Jain Ramayan - Paumcharita

Jain Ramayan is almost without any of the 'fantastical' elements, very different telling

Jain Ramayan's rationalizations

Variation of themes across multiple Ramayans

The multiple Ramas, the multiple Ramayans : an example

Ramakien - Thai Ramayan was influenced mostly by South Indian Ramayans 

Wordplay on 'Sita' : different birth stories in Sanskrit and Telugu

And the whole essay, which is full of such amazing insights, is a rather short part of a larger published collection of A K Ramanujan's essays, can be read at :

After reading this, one can only pity the asinine, revisionist re-tellings of Ramayan by the Amar Chitra Katha and Ramanad Sagar's TV Series, which robbed the epics of all their colourful diversity and complexity. In hindsight, those sanitized versions might have even provided a fillip to the Hindutva movement, at least the Ramjanmabhoomi episode, which really stemmed out of a complete lack of any understanding or connect with the epics. Needless to say, Hindutva political movement thrives on the disconnect of people from their own stories!

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