Comparing Ramayanas

The Department of Comparative Literature of the Central University of Kerala will host Katha 1: Ramayana and other stories, a spectacular celebration of the art of storytelling, using the Ramayana as a backdrop. This is the first in a series of public events based on the theme of Narrative and the one-day programme on 22 January 2010 will feature Paula Richman of Oberlin College, Ohio.

The story, or katha has been vital in moulding societies and cultures. In order to stress the comparative orientation of the programme, they bring together various narratives – oratory, poetry, photography, documentaries, and puppetry – into the single frame of Katha 1!

This is welcome news, especially for the denizens of north Kerala. The Central University of Kerala (CUK) is only recently established and has been functioning only from March 2009. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Jancy James chose to initiate the academic programme of the University with an MA in Comparative Literature and MA in Economic Theory and Global Governance.

The University is in Kasaragod, a centre of various cultural forms and linguistic diversity, and CUK will lend a new academic perspective to those who seek higher education in that region.

But more on the program: here is a glimpse, and for details, do write to the dynamic coordinator, the poet Rizio Yohanan Raj who is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature in the School of Languages & Comparative Literature at the Central University.

In addition to Paula Richman who will speak on “The Unique Ramayana Traditions of South India”, there will be Vellikkeel Raghavan talking on “Literary Traditions of North Malabar”, Readings from Mappila Ramayanam, a unique Muslim Ramayana, documentaries (on the cockfight pastime of the coastal region) and more.

Contact Dr Raj at rizioraj @ or call on 91-9496192947, 91-9446460202.