Saptaparni is presenting an evening based on the Ramayana, titled "Ramayana Alive", on 17th January, at its premises in Banjara Hills. The program will include a dance performance Thyagaraja Ramayana, an Ekaharya By Dr. Ananda Shankar at 6:15pm, followed by a story-telling session on Ramkatha by Dr. Paula Richman, at 7pm.
Ramkatha has been performed for hundreds of years, but continues to be relevant to life today. Today's talk will demonstrate how Ramkatha is localized and contemporized in different parts of India. For example, in a Malayalam folktale, Hanuman insists on sitting at Rama's feet so that when he sneezes, Hanuman can wish him long life - the sneeze marks Rama as subject to the bodily needs of a human. Ramkatha is localized in Assam where hill women have specialized in weaving - there Sita is characterized as a fine weaver. A Marathi story shows the topical humor of contemporizing - Rama learns that a wretched dog took rebirth in that form because in his previous life, he practiced financial corruption.
Dr. Paula Richman, Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions at Oberlin College in Ohio (USA), received her Ph.D. in South Indian Literary and Cultural History at the University of Chicago. She published two monographs on Tamil literature - "Women, Branch Stories, And Religious Rhetoric In A Tamil Buddhist Text" and "Extraordinary Child: Poems From A South Indian Devotional Genre". She has also edited, and contributed to, two volumes of essays - "Many Ramayanas: The Diversity Of A Narrative Tradition In South Asia" and "Questioning Ramayanas, A South Asian Tradition". Currently, she is studying performances based on Ramkatha in Trinidad and Durban in South Africa.
Entry is free for everyone. Please contact Saptaparni at 6666-7707 / 6682-1789 for further details.