Ramayana Stories in Modern South India
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Ramayana Stories in Modern South India : An Anthology

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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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 362.87g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 4 b&w photos, 1 maps
  • 0253219531
  • 9780253219534
  • 1,075,883

Review quote

"On the surface... it might appear challenging for an anthology of Ramayana Stories in Modern South India to tell us something new about the epic. This is, however, precisely what Paula Richman has been able to do through this lively and engaging volume.... The translations... are lucid and of consistently high quality.... The utility of this book for active undergraduate learning cannot be overstated." -H-Asia "A refreshing addition to the scholarly and literary works in Indic studies.... The organization of the book successfully fulfills the needs of all who are interested in learning more about Indian society, its literature and culture, and about Ramayana. One does not need to be familiar with Ramayana or Ramkatha to appreciate this book.... Richman's work is an excellent study with a rich selection of writings and viewpoints on the ancient epic Ramayana. All of the works featured in the book are thought provoking and reach out to readers and scholars in a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to the fields of folklore, anthropology, women's studies, comparative literature, film, and theater." -Journal of Folklore Research "... Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty interested in South Asian literature and religion." -Choice "This collection makes a unique contribution to scholarship on Indian literature. It is clearly organized around provocative themes that are not the usual focus of Ramayana studies, illuminating not only the 'text' of the Ramayana, but aspects of South Indian history and culture as well." -Elaine Craddock, Southwestern University One finds no greater epic narrative in Asia than the Ramayana, the story of Prince Rama's marriage to Sita, their 14-year exile, and his mighty conquest of the ten-headed demon Ravana. This epic traveled from northern India throughout the subcontinent and over the spice route and Silk Road, and still influences literatures and arts throughoutAsia. In focusing on South India, Richman (South Asian religions, Oberlin College explores patterns among modern retellings of the epic over the past 100 years in the four major languages of that region: Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam. The anthology includes short stories, poetry, songs, poems, and plays foregrounding Rama's lovely wife Sita in various contexts; formerly marginalized or stigmatized characters, including some irascible ascetics; and the escapades of several extraordinary demons who inhabit this miraculous tale. By focusing on these three facets, Richman hopes to show, as she writes in her introduction, "how retellings of the story of Rama and Sita play a vital role in Indian life today and reveal yet another facet of the gem we call Ramayana tradition." Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty interested in South Asian literature and religion. --ChoiceT. S. Yamada, California State University, Long Beach, March 2009show more

About Paula Richman

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.show more

Table of contents

ContentsPreface: On Compiling Ramayana Stories in Modern South Indian LanguagesAcknowledgmentsNote on Transliteration and TranslationIntroduction: Whose Ramayana Is It?Part 1. Sita in ContextIntroduction1. Asking Sita: The Questions Return, by Vijaya Dabbe Translated from Kannada by Shashi Deshpande and Pratibha Nandakumar2. Sartorial Dilemmas: Letters from Lady Sita, by Kumudini Translated from Tamil by Paula Richman3. A Mother-in-Law's Support: Sita Locked Out, a women's folksong Translated from Telugu by Velcheru Narayana Rao4. Sita's Powers: Do You Accept My Truth, My Lord? a women's folksong Translated from Kannada by Leela Prasad5. Talking Back: Sita Enters the Fire, by Gudipati Venkata Chalam Translated from Telugu by Sailaza Easwari Pal6. The Pensive Queen: Sita Immersed in Reflection, by Kumaran Asan Translated from Malayalam by Rizio Yohannan Raj7. Choosing Music: Forest (excerpt), by Ambai Translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmstrom8. Forest of Possibilities: Reunion, by Volga Translated from Telugu by Krishna Rao Maddipati9. Union with Nature: Prakriti and Sovereignty in Aravindan's Kanchana Sita Film analysis by Usha Zacharias10. Struggling with an Ideal: In the Shadow of Sita, by Lalitha Lenin Translated from Malayalam by Rizio Yohannan RajPart 2. Stigmatized CharactersIntroduction11. Transforming a Brahmin: Shudra Tapasvi (excerpt), by Kuppalli Venkata Puttappa Translated from Kannada by Girish Karnad and K. Marulasiddappa12. Shambuka's Story Anew: Basavalingaiah Re-presents Shudra Tapasvi Performance essay by Paula Richman13. Ahalya Later: Woman of Stone, by K. B. Sreedevi Translated from Malayalam by Gita Krishnankutty14. Consequences of a Misdeed: Deliverance from the Curse, by Pudumaippittan Translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmstrom15. The Nature of Stone: Ahalya, by S. Sivasekaram Translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmstrom16. Domestic Abuse and the Neurologist: Ahalya, by N. S. Madhavan Translated from Malayalam by Rizio Yohannan RajPart 3. So-called DemonsIntroduction17. Gender Reversal: The Horns of the Horse, by C. Subramania Bharati Translated from Tamil by Paula Richman18. Male Rivalry and Women: Shurpanakha's Sorrow, by Kavanasarma Translated from Telugu by Alladi Uma and M. Sridhar19. Marriage Offers: Mappila Ramayana of Hassankutty ("the Mad"), collected by M. N. Karassery from T. H. Kunhiraman Nambiar Translated from Malayalam by [John] Rich[ardson] Freeman20. Sita Creates Ravana: Portrait Ramayana (excerpt), by H. S. Venkatesha Murthy Translated from Kannada by Manu Shetty21. Ravana's Letter from Heaven: Come Unto Me, Janaki, by K. Satchidanandan Translated from Malayalam by Rizio Yohannan RajEpilogue: Meta-narrative22. Everyone Has Anxieties: Lakshmana's Laugh, a women's folksong Translated from Telugu by Velcheru Narayana RaoGlossaryBibliographyList of ContributorsIndexshow more

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