AK Ramanujan How many Ramayanas! Three hundred? Three thousand? At the end of some Ramayanas, a question is sometimes asked. About two weeks ago, Delhi University voted to remove A.K. Ramanujan’s essay, “Three Hundred Ramayanas,” from its curriculum. The scholarly essay by A. K. Ramanujan. “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation.’ appeared in The.
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One key point is that the original Buddhist Ramayana that Ramanujam gloats about part of Dasharatha Jataka is just about two pages long. Ramatana can write the whole thing on two sides of an A-4 paper. Forget the fact that the Buddhist Ramayana holds Rama in high ramaayna as a dharmic ruler. Most of the versions are hearsay oral narratives and some like the Santhal version were falsified by Ramanujam in the essay and factually incorrect. The only others which come close are the other epical Ramayanas by Kamban and Tulsi, which have come much later and clearly indicate their indebtness to Valmiki.
Shakesphere is not the only authentic guy you know. Ramanujan bg from Karnataka. It so happened that the poet of greatest merit who did a version of the Ramayana happened to be a Jain by Religion.
Ramanujan & the Ramayana
Sheldon Pollock tells us that Ramanujan’s Kannada was good enough for him to be helpful though when it came Sanskrit the arrow of obligation reversed itself. It so happens that rzmayana people in Delhi and the neighbouring states consider the Ramayana to be a Holy Book. These people have children who, for the worst possible reasons- viz.
It is a firm and unshakeable belief, indeed a tradition as old as the institution itself, that the stuff one is supposed to cram and regurgitate serves the purposes of the State and enables candidates for clerical berths to parrot back whatever it is the State wishes to hear. Whether eamayana is done as a means of humiliating the candidateson the salutary principle of accustoming them to swallow a peck of dirt each day of their working ramanujaj, or whether it has something do with Astrology or Vastu shastra or the eleven dimensional interaction of the Post Christevan Chora, is irrelevant.
What is relevant, is that the other great means of getting ahead offered by University- viz.
Behind the mask of the three hundred Ramayanas | IndiaFactsIndiaFacts
Ramanujan himself laid great stress on the fact that Indians interpret everything contextually and have no use for universal principles or indeed intensional language. In other words, Indians are incapable of thought qua thought as opposed to discrimination of circumstances. As such, this is a perfectly orthodox Mimamsa position- though it somewhat chauvinistically restricts Vedantic ‘Viveka’ to Indians only.
It is sad to think that the fact that the book ramayanz question is out of print, and somewhat crap though less so than a lot else that is on the syllabus and no longer on the reader list might prevent some apprentice gangsters from knifing some apprentice bureaucrats or vice versa.
This is scarcely famanujan sensible way of tackling the population problem, not to speak of the credentialist crisis poisoning productivity growth in our mother country.
The only ramayan forward is subsidiarity, more and more subsidiarity, and less and less posturing re. Firstly, we must appreciate that history or mythology the things we are discussing are not of this age and time. So, we cannot claim anything definitely about the text. Secondly, it is a fact that oral transmission, which was the norm, may create unintended variations in the text. Thirdly, it must be appreciated that the audience, even at that time, was diverse with different world views and different byy and cultural attributes.
For example, the horse was not known to the harappan people. So, in order to adapt ramanukan tale about horse to their conditions it may have to be retold as a bull, which was known to them.
So, the text of Ramayana had to be changed in order to be more accessible and intelligible to ramayxna wider audience. Fourthly, I feel Ramanujan’s effort was not famanujan the literary merits of the different texts. Instead it was for bringing in the knowledge of the reader the existence of variations in the text, which is a fact.
The proposed idea for our documentary calls for insight into a variety of perspectives on the academic, social, political and personal front. It would therefore help us in our understanding towards our own ramzyana immensely if we could get in touch with you as soon as possible.
Our topic is one that is both personal to all of us and one from which we aim to bring about the notion that the presentation of history in a certain manner always has far reaching implications and hence should be done in a very responsible manner. Friday, October 28, In Defense of A. About two weeks ago, Delhi University voted to remove A. Ramanujan’s essay”Three Hundred Ramayanas,” rxmayana its curriculum.
For reference, the essay is available here.
I consider it essential reading for anyone who wants to know about the complex textual history of the Ramayana. Though a right-wing Hindu organization called the ABVP has claimed that the essay is offensive to Hindus and they led a violent protest ramanjjan the essay inin fact the purpose of the essay is primarily scholarly — it’s an attempt to document the different versions of the Ramayana that have been passed down in different Indian languages. Since the Ramayana was for centuries transmitted orally rather than on paper, it’s no surprise that there are variants in the story.
In addition to describing the different versions, Ramanujan talks about the nature of textual transformation, and introduces terms that help us categorize different kinds of changes and shifts some of which may be accidental, while ra,anujan may be more “indexical” — that is, intentionally inserted to make the text fit different cultural 300 historical contexts.
See The Hindu’s interview with Romila Thapar on the issue here. Another thoughtful account of the controversy is here.
Ramayana: An ‘epic’ controversy
Also, it’s worth noting left-leaning faculty and students at DU did do a protest in defense of the essay in the curriculum this past week, an account of which can be found here. Maybe this episode isn’t over yet? For reference, I have talked about this issue on several occasions over the years. I attempted to provoke a discussion of “versions of the Ramayana” several years ago on Sepia Mutiny: Admittedly, I didn’t know a whole lot when I put up that post; I know a bit more about this issue now.
Posted by Amardeep Singh at 8: AcademiaHinduismHindutvaSecularism. Newer Post Older Post Home.