SEARCH

Cities » Delhi

Updated: November 9, 2011 10:58 IST

Outrage refuses to die down

Staff Reporter
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Painting with live model by artist Shishir Basumatari in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
The Hindu Painting with live model by artist Shishir Basumatari in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The outrage among academics at Delhi University over its infamous decision to scrap A. K. Ramanujan's controversial essay on the Ramayana is refusing to die down with a discussion on the essay and the importance of critical evaluation of ancient texts being held at Ramjas College here on Tuesday.

“Every version of the Ramayana is clear that Ravana never violated Sita, that he was a man learned and refined, his death was considered tragic and he was not always demonised. The complexity that exists in the epic has been taken away from us by categorising everything into good and bad, black and white with the grey conveniently overlooked,” said History Prof. Bharati Jagannathan leading the discussion.

A painting with a live model by artist Shishir Basumatari depicted a popular tale that suggests that for every Rama there is a Ramayana which forms the introduction in the essay.

“Once Lord Rama's gold ring slipped from his finger and disappeared underground. Hanuman took on a tiny form and went into the netherworld in its search. He was caught by the netherworld people who took him to their king. When Hanuman told the king his reasons for entering the netherworld, the king showed him a platter full of rings that looked identical and said: ‘There have been as many Ramas as there are rings on this platter',” said Shishir, adding that his rendition, showing a live Hanuman reaching for the painted golden rings was meant to be humorous.

“To Valmiki, Rama was the personification of the perfect man, a purushotam, whereas to the Tamil writer Kamban, Rama was God. Valmiki was inspired by separation and tragedy and Kamban based his story on prosperity,” added Prof. Bharati.

“Rama banishes a pregnant Sita based on the fact that his kingly duties should not interfere with his emotions. But he supports Sugriva, the monkey king, against his brother Bali whose wife had become Sugriva's consort, Rama even goes against dharma and shoots Bali in the back and then says that since he is an enemy and a monkey, his actions are justified. Nuances and complexities like these have been conveniently ignored,” she said.

“I am deeply religious and do not like religious characters maligned, but it is imperative as a historian to critically analyse ancient texts,” added Prof. Bharati.

Hi Ananthalakshmi, by protesters who are you referring to? The forces that got it scrapped from the syllabus or the ones who are protesting the removal of it?

from:  shisir basumatari
Posted on: Nov 10, 2011 at 15:18 IST

I wonder if the protesters have read the essay in question. I am curious to know which parts of the essay hurts Hindu sentiments. If there can be many Buddhas, then why not Ramas?

from:  Ananthalakshmi
Posted on: Nov 10, 2011 at 11:37 IST

History professor Bharati's statement that “Rama banishes a pregnant Sita based on the fact that his kingly duties should not interfere with his emotions. But he supports Sugriva, the monkey king, against his brother Bali whose wife had become Sugriva's consort... " reveals only her ignorance of (1)the fact that the first part of her statement depends on the so-called Uttarakanda which has been denounced by scholars as a later text, not by Valmiki and merely claims to be by Valmiki; Hindus have consistently ignored it, although it is printed along with the genuine Ramayana. (2) Prof. Bharati is confused re: Vali's wife becoming Sugriva's wife. It happened only after Vali's death. The junior levirate custom which required a younger brother to take his elder brother's widow as his wife was prevalent among ancient Jews and Hindus.

from:  M. R. Parameswaran
Posted on: Nov 10, 2011 at 04:38 IST
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World

Delhi Connect Newsfeed



O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Delhi

DMRC achieves tunnel breakthrough at Lal Quila

After making a 650-metre-long tunnel between Jama Masjid and Lal Quila on the upcoming Heritage Line, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) surfaced at the Lal Quila metro station here on Thursday. »