While listening to PM Modi at Ayodhya, over TV the other day, dilating confidently on the theme of “unity in diversity” ( including a BIG LIE) with regard to the existence of many Ramayanas, I was thinking where has this non-scholar ( mildly put ) plagiarised his material from?

Later , I was reminded of the great scholar, poet, folklorist, essayist and translator ( late, died in 1993) A. K. Ramanujan of “300 and more Ramayanas” fame . After browsing I found the citation.:

“Three Hundred Rāmāyaṇas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation” is an essay written by Indian writer A. K. Ramanujan for a Conference on Comparison of Civilizations at the University of Pittsburgh, February 1987. (Wikipedia).

I have found two sources of this essay by Ramanujan : 1) Collected Essays of AK Ramanujan, edited by Vinay Dharwadkar and 2) Oxford India Paperback titled “Many Ramayans : The Diversity of a Narrative” edited by Paula Richman.

This essay was deleted from the DU syllabus by the RSS/ABVP forces. At that time they took a unitary or view of indivisibility.. There is one Ramayana by Valmiki in Sanskrit. And its authentic translation into Hindi or Devanagri is by Tulsidas. Now what Modi presented at Ayodhya , without acknowledging his source, was basically Ramanujan’s version and view of divisibility or that of unity in diversity. ( Including the BIG LIE that Guru Govind Singh wrote the Govind Ramayana.)

In this context, you may like to refer to Newsclick’s You Tube video -cum-article dated 4 July, 2017 : ” Did Ramaujan’s Essay 300 Ramayans Really Hurt the Sentiments of Hindus ? ”

I feel this is an opportune time for all secular, democratic forces to raise their voice and campaign for restoration of Ramanujan’s iconic article in the DU syllabus.

Aurobindo Ghose, Advocate and Human Rights Activist Email : g_aurobindo@yahoo.com


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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Jaspal Singh Sidhu says:

    Well said, I agree with you.

  2. Avatar Sumanta Banerjee says:

    Modi appropriated the term `many Ramayanas’ – not in the sense that Ramanujan used it to describe the co-existence of differing interpretations of the legend in various parts of the Indian and south-east Asian sub-continent. Instead, Modi is using it to brag that the Ramayana of the exclusivist RSS version, is expanding all over the world under the hegemony of the Sangh Parivar as `many Ramayanas.’ It is an attempt to homogenize the various versions of the Ramayana under the imposition of a dominating ideology of Hindutva .