This book is the first to present current scholarship on gender and in regional and sectarian versions of the Rāmāyaṇa. Contributors explore in what ways the versions relate to other Rāmāyaṇa texts as they deal with the female persona and the cultural values implicit in them. Using a wide variety of approaches, both analytical and descriptive, the authors discover common ground between narrative variants even as their diversity is recognized.
It offers an analysis in the shaping of the heterogeneous Rāma tradition through time as it can be viewed from the perspective of narrating women's lives. Through the analysis of the representation and treatment of female characters, narrative inventions, structural design, textual variants, and the idiom of composition and technique in art and sculpture are revealed and it is shown what and in which way these alternative versions are unique.
A sophisticated exploration of the Rāmāyaṇa, this book is of great interest to academics in the fields of South Asian Studies, Asian Religion, Asian Gender and Cultural Studies.
Table of Contents
Foreword Gavin Flood
1: Re-creation, refashioning, rejection, response ... : how the narrative developed John Brockington
2. Śūrpaṇakhā in the Jain Rāmāyaṇas Eva De Clercq
3. Betrayed by the beloved: lustful wives and devoted mothers in the Jain Rāmāyaṇas Mary Brockington
4. The Adventures of Rāma, Sītā and Rāvaṇa in Tibet Ulrike Roesler
5. Afflicted mothers and abused women: the words behind the pictures John Brockington, Mary Brockington and Rachel Loizeau-Pajaniradja
6. Women in crisis: South Indian pictorial versions of the Rāmāyaṇa narrative Anna Dallapiccola
7. Designing Women: Felicitous Malice in a Bengali Rāmāyaṇ Mandakranta Bose
8. Can Sages and Women Dance Side by Side? contested text and gender in the Kavitāvalī of Tulsīdās Imre Bangha
9. Transmission and response in a grandmother’s tale Mary Brockington
Afterword: Tales of the Dispossessed: women in the Rāmāyaṇa Mandakranta Bose
Appendix: Retellings of the Rāma story with dates, and variant names
John Brockington is Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He has published many books on the Sanskrit epics (Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata, Harivaṃśa).
Mary Brockington is Research Fellow at the International Association of Sanskrit Studies, Austria. She has published many articles on narrative strategies in traditional literature, including many on the Sanskrit epics.