Appropriated and Assimilated: Ravana in Popular Culture (78691)

Session Information: Comparative Literature Studies
Session Chair: Alexandre Avdulov

Monday, 27 May 2024 10:05
Session: Session 1
Room: Room D (Live-Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Ramayana is one of the oldest narratives that has been molded into every possible form of storytelling. Stretched and contracted, the narrative was fitted into multiple modalities and diverse (or contradictory) ethics for generations. However, in the past few decades it has been employed as a tool to assert dominance; often reduced to simplistic binaries of good versus evil, self versus the other, and thus Rama, the hero versus Ravana, the villainous monster. This paper studies such narrativization of the concept of evil/other by studying variants of Ravana across examples of popular culture in present times—as readily available in twenty first century novels and cinema as they are in political rallies and festival fairs. However, the paper argues that the character of Ravana also serves as a platform for expressing dissent and hence in creating (or sustaining) counter-narratives. These narratives can be traced from ancient texts like Paumacariyam to various examples of contemporary popular culture. They can even be located amongst communities (in regions like Katol, Gondh, and Bisrakh) where Ravana has been assimilated as a symbol of resistance against prevailing forms of domination. By studying diverse appropriations and assimilations of Ravana within different cultural contexts, the paper highlights the power of Ravana’s ambiguous nature in exploring intricate dynamics of power, resistance, and identity construction. Self-reflectively, the paper also questions the inherent binarization within the Ramayana tradition into “hegemonic” narratives and “alternative” counter-narratives, as evident through discourses of scholars like Paula Richman, Sheldon Pollock, and Romila Thapar.

Ruchika Jain, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, India

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Ruchika Jain is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in India

See this presentation on the full scheduleMonday Schedule

Conference Comments & Feedback

Place a comment using your LinkedIn profile


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress

Share this Presentation

Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00