Reading Ramayana in present-day contexts

A public guest lecture by Dr Arshia Sattar from Mahindra United World College of India in Pune

Arshia Sattar

The epic Ramayana tells the story ofprince Rama who stemmed from the city of Ayodhya which he after a long exile and many tribulations ruled for a long time. In retrospect his rule, the Ramraja, has been seen as the principal example of the rule of a just king in later Hinduism.

The ever famous epic story about his life gathered new fame due to a TV series of it in 1987 and 1988 and was later used as an emblem for the mobilisation of politics since 1992. This mobilisation has led to periods of government by parties supporting Hindu positions in various ways. The paper will address how the Ramayana has been read and aspects of what it means in current political contexts in India.

About Arshia Sattar

Arshia Sattar has a PhD in classical Indian literature from the University of Chicago. Her academic and literary work addresses the questions of how contemporary art and culture relate to gender rolls and classical epics (also in film adaptations).

She has been teaching at various academic institutions. Since 2010 she teaches at Mahindra United World College of India in Pune.

In 2005 Sattar was the programme director of the Rangashankara theatre festival in Bengalore. She is also a main organizer of the Lekhana Literature Festival in Bengalore. She has translated Tales from the Kathāsaritsāgara. (Penguin Books 1994) and The Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki. (Viking 1996). A series of critical essays deal with the notion of ”women” in India. She has contributed to the The Economic History of India with The Mouse Merchant. Money in Ancient India (i Penguin: Story of Indian Business 2013).

Selected publications

Sattar, Arshia (1994). Tales from the Kathāsaritsāgara by Somadeva. Penguin Books
Sattar, Arshia (1996). The Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki. Viking
Sattar, Arshia (2011). Lost Loves. Exploring Rama’s Anguish, Penguin Books
Sattar, Arshia (2013) The Mouse Merchant, Money in Ancient India, in: The Story of Indian Business, Series Editor: Gurcharan Das, Penguin Books
Sattar, Arshia (2016). Uttara. The Book of Answers, Penguin Books

The lecture is organised by ADI and the Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies.

All are welcome!