ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Intersecting Worlds of Religion, Faith, and Politics

The Many Histories of Ayodhya

Ayodhya: City of Faith, City of Discord by Valay Singh, New Delhi: Aleph Book Company, 2018; pp xv + 383, 799 (hardback).

 

Often, the deeper histories of places reveal that while some fade away entirely, others get caught in the ebb and flow of time. The choice of Ayodhya as the setting for narrating the story of Ram in the epic ensured that this place could never be forgotten. One could even argue that the story of Ram or the Ramayana can never be sharply separated from Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram. In a way, the first history of Ayodhya was written nearly 2,500 years ago, once Valmiki’s Ramayana began to be composed. Valay Singh’s book, Ayodhya: City of Faith, City of Discord, is the latest work in what is clearly a long list of histories of Ayodhya, in which he briefly discusses numerous versions/retellings and translations in multiple languages and places of the Ramayana, beginning with Valmiki’s epic story, to the Dasaratha Jataka (albeit set in Banaras and not Ayodhya), various Jain recensions (from 1st century CE till 1700 CE), to Kamban’s 12th century CE Ramavataram, or the one written by Krittibas Ojha in 15th century CE, and Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas in 16th century CE, the Bhilodi Ramayana and the 18th century CE dance-drama version of the Thai Ramayana/Ramakien.

The Longer History

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Updated On : 18th Nov, 2019

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