Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three. Thoughts on Translation. A. K. Ramanujan. How many Ramayanas? Three hundred? Three thousand?. When I studied history as an undergraduate in Delhi University in the mids, A.K. Ramanujan’s essay, “Three Hundred Ramayanas”. The scholarly essay by A. K. Ramanujan. “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation.’ appeared in The.

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Then, if they so choose, they become teachers themselves and pass that knowledge on to others. D scholar at my Centre, teaching in a DU college, remarked that it was so delightful to have a paper that actually allowed you to look at culture beyond the confines of the mainstream with its emphasis on normative lenses. Ramanujan, while referring to the diversity and apparently contradictory element of unity in the Indian traditions, refers to an Irish joke about whether to classify trousers as singular or plural: Inpolitical activists of the Hindu Right vandalised the History Department in protest against this essay.

Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jain Texts, pp. Sunday 27 November Ramanujan specifically prefers the term “tellings” to the usual terms “versions” and “variants” because the latter terms can and do imply the existence of an invariant original text. The bhakti ideology has been seen as a reaction to brahmanical orthodoxy, but as many have pointed out, at the moment of the institutionalisation of the bhakti tradition, the dissenting element became the orthodoxy.

The question of folk traditions of the Ramayana are more difficult to address because we move into a different realm, from the written text to orality. This action of the Academic Council attracted a lot of attention and several people viewed this as an act of unwarranted censorship.

Modi renames Ross, Havelock and Neil islands in the Andamans. They did this by trashing the department of history and physically assaulting the head of the department. The essay that the Delhi University does not want its history students to read A.

The scholarly essay by A. The controversy engendered by the celebrated scholar A. On October 9,the Academic Council of the University decided to remove the essay from the BA curriculum for its next academic cycle. Almost every sentence of this complaint is objectively, as old-school lefties used to say, untrue.

Three hundred Ramayanas – Delhi University and the purging of Ramanujan

We can rule out one possibility: This essay was part of the readings in one of the history courses. The DU authorities, it is alleged, decided on this issue in favour of the dissenting opinion without consulting the larger community, when in fact this item was not even on ramayanzs agenda. Ramanujan, far from being malicious about the texts he discusses, obviously loves them.


His translations of Tamil poetry from the Sangam period set new critical standards in the field of literary translation.

Subversions and inversions, contestations and rebuttals abound—was Ravana indeed the evil demonic figure of the brahmanical ramanujwn did the rakshasas actually gorge on flesh and blood; was it the lust of Ravana that led to his ruin?

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Also in ramatanas section Pakistan: Nor could it be expert opinion. Statement by concerned citizens Bangladesh: Archives on Hindutva seeks to gamayanas the diversity of Hindu narratives and practices into a uniform faith based on standardized texts.

There are two distinct traditions within the Jaina Ramakathas, and although Ramanujan does not directly refer to this himself, I extend his assertion that there is no one text that can be upheld for even the counter narrative.

Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation – Wikipedia

This relates further to an argument that many scholars have enunciated, best represented in the work of Madeline Biardieu about the structure of the Indic literary tradition— particularly the epics and Puranas, which was rooted in orality and interpretation rather than on the sacro-sanctness of the written text. However, mine is an academic disagreement, which I would like to place within academic parameters.

Public Sphere, Citizenship and Technologies of Instead of pandering to unreason, the university should be true to itself, stand its ground and reinstate Ramanujan. Oxford University Press, One of Ramanujan’s main observations in the essay is that there is no such original Ramayana and that Valmiki’s Ramayana telling is only one among many Ramayana tellings.

It contains false stories quoted under one pretext or oral and other sic without any ramayanax.

The second major point that Ramanujan makes is, given the diversity and spread of the tradition, to privilege one as the original Ur text and ramayahas others as variations does not factor in the ways in which ideas and traditions are disseminated and take root in different language cultures. The iconic translation allows an exact copy of a text, the indexical forges the essentials but fills in its own cultural particularities, while the third is symbolic—the apparent frame is ramanujab to subvert or create a completely different text.


In fact, as many scholars have pointed out, in its earliest renderings, the Rama story is found in the Buddhist Jatakas, moral tales about the past lives of the Buddha, which narrates the story of the two sons and one daughter of the king of Ayodhya, Dasharatha, who were Rama, Lakshmana rqmanujan Sita.

The essay is a marvellous account of the hundreds of ways in which the Ramayana ramayabas been told, complete with examples of this narrative diversity. Subscribe to South Asia Citizens Wire feeds from sacw. They are academics, after all, aware of the significance of primary texts.

It seeks to demonstrate factually how the story of Rama has undergone numerous variations while being transmitted across different languages, societies, geographical regions, religions, and historical periods.

An ism is coming to an end. The essay that the Delhi University does not want its history students to read.

Ramayana: An ‘epic’ controversy – BBC News

Difference the plural, if we continue with the Irish trouser does not necessarily mean rupture or devaluation, but even if it does, it would be more fruitful to read the contexts in ramanuajn these were produced rather than debunk the other traditions. The essay was a required reading on Delhi University’s syllabus for history undergraduates from onward. Besides, why would they attend to the views of one expert and ignore three others?

An attempt is made to create differences in communities. He does not distort, by scholarly consensus, the texts that he translates and the charge that in writing this essay he is trying to create communal differences is, in fact, the only part of ramanukan story that is truly libellous.

Finally, the crucial point that Ramanujan makes is with regard to translation of texts: That it is a matter of concern that popular ramanuman and prevailing traditions of Hindu 030 are projected in distorted manner.

The count of Ramayanas in the title of the essay is based on a work of Camille Bulcke [1] and it has been pointed out that it is an underestimate of the actual count.

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