Ramayana Stories in Modern South India: An Anthology

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Indiana University Press, 2008 - Literary Collections - 258 pages
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While some religious texts may remain static over time, the Ramayana epic has been retold in a variety of ways over the centuries and across South Asia. Some of the narrative's most probing and innovative retellings have appeared in print in the last 100 years in the region of South India. This collection brings together, for the first time, modern retellings translated from the four major South Indian languages and from genres as diverse as drama, short stories, poetry, and folk song. The selections focus on characters generally seen as stigmatized or marginalized, and on themes largely overlooked in previous scholarship. Editor Paula Richman demonstrates that twentieth-century authors have used retellings of the Ramayana to question caste and gender inequality in provocative ways. This engaging anthology includes translations of 22 primary texts along with interpretive essays that provide background and frameworks for understanding the stories.

 

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Contents

Whose Ramayana Is It?
1
Foundations
2
Classifying Ramayanas
8
Modern Retellings in the South
12
South India as a Ramayana Region
13
Shared Features
18
Caste Gender and Hierarchy
19
Modes of Expression and Literary Genres
23
part 2 stigmatized characters
111
Shudra Tapasvi excerpt
119
Basavalingaiah Re presents ShudraTapasvi
135
Woman of Stone
141
Deliverance from the Curse
146
Ahalya
158
Ahalya
160
part 3 so called demons
173

Transformations
26
Why Ramkatha?
29
part 1 s i ta in context
37
The Questions Return
43
Letters from Lady Sita
45
Sita Locked Out
50
Do You Accept My Truth My Lord?
55
Sita Enters the Fire
58
Sita Immersed in Refl ection
64
Forest excerpt
88
Reunion
91
Prakriti and Sovereignty in Aravindans
99
In the Shadow of Sita
108
The Horns of the Horse
181
Shurpanakhas Sorrow
187
Mappila Ramayana of Hassankuttythe Mad
193
Portrait Ramayana excerpt
201
Come Unto Me Janaki
215
meta narrative
219
Lakshmanas Laugh
221
Glossary
227
Bibliography
235
List of Contributors
243
Index
249
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Paula Richman is William H. Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions at Oberlin College. She is editor of Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia and Questioning Ramayanas, a South Asian Tradition.

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