Connecting Cultures: Ramayana Retellings in South India and South East Asia
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2-Day International Conference on “Connecting Cultures: Ramayana Retellings in South India and South East Asia” conducted on 14th & 15th September 2017

 

Held On : 14th and 15th September 2017

 

The School of Arts and Humanities of REVA University had the honour of hosting an International Conference on “Connecting Cultures: Ramayana Retellings in South India and Southeast Asia” on 14th and 15th September 2017 conducted on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the noted historian, Prof. Achuta Rao. The Ramayana is one of the most interesting stories ever told, but what is even more interesting are the various versions that exist in the sculptural narratives, the Kakawin Ramayana of Central Java, the Ramakien of Thailand, the Reamkar of Cambodia etc. The conference was inaugurated by Honourable Chancellor of REVA University – Dr. P. Shyama Raju, Vice Chancellor of REVA University – Dr. S. Y. Kulkarni, Prof. Baldev Raj – Director, NIAS, Prof. S. Settar – Convener of the Conference and Mr. D.A. Prasanna - Former Vice Chairman, Wipro Technologies and son of late Prof. Achuta Rao. What made the conference even more important is the presence of distinguished delegates from different parts of the globe – USA, Canada, UK, Paris, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and India – who had a wide amount of experience in the research of the Ramayana and added different aspects to an already existing story.

The first academic session was entitled ‘Literary and Allied Cultures’ which was presided by Dr. Paula Richman from Oberlin University, Ohio, USA and Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Yousof from the University of Malaysia. A renowned historian, Dr. Richman, she spoke in depth about ‘Ravana’ and his representations in various theatrical stages. Added to her discourse, were other paper presenters who deliberated upon the Ramayana retellings in the classical canon of Kannada Literature, the governance and ethics as a leitmotif in the Ramayanas of the Java and Thai Ramakaien. The discussion consisted of various researches and ideas that were not very popular but had vital information and knowledge. Another eminent professor, Dr. Yousof, whose main research area is Southeast Asian Theatre, Asian Literature and epics spoke at length about the importance of Ramayana in theatrical retellings. Prof. S. Setter chaired the session on ‘Performance Cultures: Theatre, Dance, and Oral Traditions’ and added to the discourses by elaborating on the representations of Ravana in theatre. Prof. Vanamala Vishwanath from Azim Premji University, Bangalore, and also an award-winning translator presided over one of the sessions which focused on the expressions of the Ramayana in Malaysian arts and the various performances in villages of Khmer. Dr. A. J. Thomas, eminent poet and translator, winner of the Katha Award and the AKMG prize, presided over a session on ‘Visual Cultures’ that focused on the representation of the Ramayana in sculptures and paintings that were found in archaeological and epigraphic discoveries. Dr. Parul Pandya Dhar, a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Berlin, threw light on art history and different kinds of sculptures throughout the world. The varied, intellectual, artistic and periodical renditions of the Ramayana provided an enlightening read as well as increased the appreciation for its timeless and universal appeal. The two-day conference wrapped up with an amazing cultural programme ‘Ramanubhava’ – a dance performance by Madhu Nataraj and her dance troupe, NATYASTEM.

 

 

Events held @ REVA