kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

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Unravelling the Divine: Hanuman in Popular Culture

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Date(s) - 11 Jul 2012
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

S M Joshi Hall

The Messages of a Divine Monkey: Hanuman in Popular Culture

Philip Lutgendorf will begin our lecture series - Unravelling the Divine: Stories from the Ramayana . Lutgendorf will talk about Hanuman, the most beloved god in the Hindu pantheon. Enshrined in temples at every street corner in India, Hanuman also finds a place in calendar art, advertising and mass media. Lutgendorf sets out to deconstruct the role of divine monkey and challenges the cliché of Hanuman as a “minor” or “folk” deity by exploring his complex role in our everyday life. Drawing from Sanskrit and vernacular texts Lutgendorf will talk about the god who continues to fascinate scholars, wrestlers, healers, politicians, and middle-class urbanites.


Date: July 11, 2012

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Venue: S M Joshi Hall, Near Ganjawe Hall, Opp. Patrakar Bhavan, Ganjawe Hall, Pune

small-tea-6 Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies and has taught in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature since 1985. He regularly offers Hindi language classes as well as courses on written and oral narrative traditions of South Asia, including Indian film. His book on the performance of the Rāmcaritmānas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana, The Life of a Text (University of California Press, 1991) won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002-03 for his research on the popular Hindu “monkey-god” Hanuman, which has appeared as Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (Oxford University Press, 2007). His interests include epic performance traditions, folklore and popular culture, and mass media.  He maintains a website devoted to popular Hindi cinema, a.k.a. “Bollywood” ( In 2010 he received a Fulbright-Hays “Faculty Research Abroad” fellowship to research a book on the cultural history of “chai,” and also began work on a planned three-volume, dual-language edition and translation of the Rāmcaritmānas for the Murty Classical Library of India/Harvard University Press. He serves as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies (


This lecture is free and open to everyone.

Date: 11 July, 2012

Time: 6:00pm