Epic in India
Tutun Mukherjee; Bharathi Harishankar (Eds.)
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Through Indian life and culture, the epics of the subcontinent flow like the subterranean River Saraswati. Like Yuddhishthira, who is faced with the puzzling questions posed to him by the enigmatic Yaksha in the Mahabharata, the Indian Everyman, conscious of dharma and niti, is expected to find answers to ethical and existential dilemmas. While the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Silappadikaram are the best known of the sacred narratives of the past, there exists a vast reservoir of other epics—many still in the oral tradition. This compendium, the first of its kind, explores the many literary traditions and strands that run parallel but also provide interesting contrasts in the experience of the epics. The multiple frames provide a cultural continuum which shapes and is shaped by the epics.

Tutun Mukherjee (late) was Professor and Head, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad. Her areas of interest were comparative literature, culture studies and world literatures, among others.

Bharathi Harishankar is Vice Chancellor, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women (Deemed University) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Prior to her appointment as VC, she was Professor of English and Head, Department of Women's Studies, University of Madras.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

Part I
1. The Epic Across Literary Cultures / Harish Trivedi
2. A Comparatist’s Reading of Epic as Genre / Ipshita Chanda
3. The First English Translation of Mahabharata: Authorship/Authority, Translation/Utility Matters / Nandini Bhattacharya

Part II
4. The Ramayana: Issues and Problems / Mohan Ramanan
5. Ezhuthaccan’s Adhyatma Ramayana and the Ramayana Tradition / K. Satchidanandan
6. Reading Ramayana in Two Contexts: From Old Tibet to Maad Dialect of Rajasthan / M.N. Rajesh and Bhim Singh
7. Mappila Ramayanam: Retelling the Epic among Malabari Muslims / Sharone K. Meeran

Part III
8. Can Rhetoric Decide Authorship? Sri Aurobindo and the Problem of the Mahabharata / Sachidananda Mohanty
9. Krsna and the Mystic Number 8 / Indrajit Bandyopadhyay
10. Aksatayoni: Regaining Virginity in the Mahabharata / Gargi Bhattacharya
11. Queering Kasirama: Myths of Gender Reversal and Transvestism in the Medieval Bengali Mahabharata / Soham Pain

Part IV
12. The Epic Imagination and its (Dis)continuities: The Mewati Mahabharata / Shail Mayaram
13. Delineating Adivasi Ethos in the Bhili Bharath / Kirti Nakhare
14. Epic Narratives in Kathakali / B. Hariharan
15. Ramakatha Adaptations in North-East India / Monbinder Kaur

Part V
16. Intersections of the Feminine in Silappadikaram / Bharathi Harishankar
17. Positioning Manimekalai as an a-Vaidiki Epic: Contemporary Reception Context in Tamil / C.T. Indra
18. Bibi Nanchari, the Muslim Goddess-Consort / Sreedevi Yadavalli
19. Waris Shah’s Heer: An Epic or a Kissa? / Rana Nayar
20. Transformation of Creation Myth into Religion: Ladakhi Tribal Epic Ling Kesar and Tibetan Epic Gesar / Stanzin Shakya
21. Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s Loona: Deconstructing the Feminine / Vivek Sachdeva

About the Contributors

Book Review | Published in The India Forum, 14 February 2024.
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