kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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Three hundred Ramayanas

Posted on by Imran

The essay by renowned scholar and poet A K Ramanujan,“Three hundred Ramayanas: Five examples and three thoughts on translations”, has been removed from a Delhi University textbook by the Academic Council, in spite of the fact that three out of four experts on the expert committee convened, and the University’s history department, opposed the move, sparking protests and debate on campuses across the country and in cyberspace. We reproduce the essay here, with permission. How many Ramayanas? Three hundred? Three thousand? At the end of some Ramayanas, a question is sometimes asked: How many Ramayanas have there been? And there are stories that answer the question. Here is one. One day when Rama was sitting on his throne, his ring fell off. When it touched the earth, it made a hole in the ground and disappeared into it. It was gone. His trusty henchman, Hanuman, was at his feet. Rama said to Hanuman, ‘Look, my ring is lost. Find it for me.’ Now, Hanuman can enter any hole, no matter how tiny. He had the power to become the smallest of the small and larger than the largest thing. So he took on a tiny form and went down the hole. He went and went and went and suddenly fell into the netherworld. There were women down there. ‘Look, a tiny monkey! It’s fallen from above!’ Then they caught him and placed him on a platter (thali). The King of Spirits (bhut), who lives … Continue reading

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