A Polish connection

Danuta Stasik at the Oriental Institute of University of Warsaw is a scholar of Hindi, both the language and the literature. She works on Ramkatha (राम कथा), the history of Hindi literature, and translation among other things. A recent work of hers, published by Manohar, is the study of the Ramayana, The Infinite Story: The Past and Present of the Ramayanas in Hindi.

The story of the Ramayana is well-known in all Indian languages and Hindi literature is no exception to it. It has a long and rich tradition based on Ramkatha that through the centuries has challenged many authors.

The main aim of this work is twofold। Firstly, it seeks to analyse the development of the Ramayana tradition in Hindi literature from the perspective of its most important achievements against their historical background and socio-cultural context. Secondly, it attempts to examine the relationship between the story, i.e. Ramkatha, as told by different authors, and Ram, the protagonist of the Ramayana, who functions as a cultural hero and serves as model of right behaviour for the others and at the same time appears to be one of the most important factors in the continuing popularity of the tradition.

The volume opens with an introduction that outlines the diversity of the Ramayana tradition in India, beginning with the first known Ramayana ascribed to the sage Valmiki। It discuses later developments in Sanskrit and vernacular literatures, as exemplified by their best achievements originating from Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina contexts. It also considers the implications of all these works for the unfolding of the tradition in Hindi. In its closing portion, the volume provides an overview of the growth of the cult of Ram in North India.

In our Religion and Translation sections, in hardcover, 320 pages Rs 995, ISBN: 9788173048159