About the Book
The long and continuous tradition of Rama-Katha existed in many folk and oral forms before Adikavi Valmiki composed it in Sanskrit in written form as the Ramayana, "a book of divine harmony
a bottomless and shoreless ocean of love, piety and clemency." The subsequent centuries witnessed composition of Ramayana in many Indian languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Assamese, Hindi, Kashmiri, Gujarati and Marathi among others. There versions share many similarities and some dissimilarities among them, though their epicentral concerns remain the same.
The present volume comprising more than a dozen articles by distinguished scholars discuss Ramayana in different Indian languages. The volume, it is hoped, would lead to mutual illumination of Rama-Katha in different Indian languages and facilitate greater understanding of its timeless appeal and journey through ages.
About the Author
Avadhesh Kumar Singh(1960-) is Vice Chancellor, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University since August 1, 2006. Prior to the present assignment, he was Professor and Head, Dept. of English and Comparative Literary Studies, Saurashtra University, Rajkot; and Co-ordinator, University Grants Commission (UGC) Special Assistance Programme (SAP/DRS) on "Indian Renaissance Literature with Special Reference to English, Gujarati and Hindi". The areas of his interest include Indian and Western literary theories, comparative literature, Indian literature and translation studies on which he has published 10 books and more than 75 papers in various journals and anthologies of academic repute. Indian Knowledge Systems, 2 vols. (2005) and Discourse of Resistance in the Colonial Period (2005) is among his last publications. Also he has delivered Keynote Addresses to many national and international seminars. He is the Editor of Critical Practice, a journal of literary and critical studies since 1994.
Pundit Jagannath Sastri's pronoucement regarding Indian knowledge tradition "bharatiya jnana parampara sanatana ganga pravah" is equally applicable to Rama-Katha (life and story of Rama), as it is perennial and pious like the Ganges. It is pious in itself and makes its narrators and listeners and whosoever comes in its contact pious. In different regions in India, it appears in different garbs. Its linguistic forms may vary but the structure remains the same in terms of the story and its import. So do the characters as symbols of different values like Rama, Laksmana, Sita, Bharata and Hanuman among others who have become an integral part of the intellectual system of India. Keeping it in view, with the blessings and guidance of Sri Morari Bapu, Kailashdham Gurukul organized a Seminar on "The Ramayana in Indian Languages" in August 2006 at Mahua, Bhavnagar, and Gujarat. Various eminent scholars read their papers on the Rama-Katha in different Indian languages such as Sanskrit (Nagindas Sanghavi), Tamil (D. Gnanasundarma), Punjabi (Subhash Chander Sachdeva), Telugu (K. Malayavasini), Malayalam (K. Satchidanandan), Assamese (Indira Goswami), Bengali (Indranath Choudhuri), Oriya (Sitakant Mahapatra), Gujarati (Upendra N. Dave), Marathi (Aruna), and Hindi (Ambashankar Nagar). In addition, there was a paper on the Bhili Ramayana (Bhagvandas Patel) of the tribals living in the foothills of the Aravali in and around Khedbrahma of the north Gujarat region. The Introduction in its first section deals with Tulasidasa's Rama-carita-manasa as the seedbed of values and wisdom, and with the Kashmiri Ramayana in the second section. The last section of the Introduction strives to discuss and study poojya Morari Bapu as an exponent of the Rama-Katha. The volume ends with the "Asirvacana" or blessings of Morari Bapu in the form of his speech delivered at the end of the Sanskrit Parva. Taking some liberties with the blessings, we have titled it an Rama and His Kathas: The Endless Saga.
Despite our best endeavours, quite a few Ramayanas existing in Indian oratory and language like Kannada could not be submit their papers in time. Some other volume, it is hoped, would take care of these limitations and do justice to the Ramayanas not discussed here.
The volume without laying any claim to finality on the Rama-Katha, protean as it is in its voices, versions and visions, takes full cognizance of Ramayana existing in different languages in India and beyond with full faith in Rama-Katha as the bridge amongst various regional, linguistic and cultural identities. The volume owes its success to the blessings of Poojya Bapu, the scholars and the publishers. Inadequacies, if any, are entirely mine.
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