January 20, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Ramayana: An epic or a cautionary tale about the burden of rules?

1 min read

Devdutt Pattanaik, the author of Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana, on the great epic Ramayana: Tehelka

Devdutt-PattanaikThe story of the Ramayana is simple enough: once upon a time there was a king with three wives and four sons; palace intrigues force the eldest son into exile in the forest where his wife is kidnapped by a demon; he rescues her with the help of monkeys, and returns home to reclaim his throne; eventually he abandons his wife whose sojourn with the demon-king becomes the subject of street gossip. The simplicity is deceptive for the narrative creates a framework to explain key social concepts such as kinship, fidelity, property and self-image, which is why it is retold constantly, each retelling focussing on a particular theme or point of view. My book Sita, for example, evokes the Ramayana by bringing the Goddess to the forefront.

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