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The Kamba Ramayana

P.S. Sundaram (Author) N.S. Jagannathan (Editor)

The epic story of Rama, which is part of the Indian collective consciousness, has been retold in many regional languages. Pre-eminent among the many vernacular retellings of the Ramayana is the twelfth-century Tamil version by Kamban. The son of a temple drummer, Kamban is reputed to have had an impressive mastery of Tamil and Sanskrit classics Fascinated by the lore of Ramayana, he immersed himself totally in it.

Though Kamban acknowledges his indebtedness to the Sanskrit version of the Ramayana by Valmiki, his is an independent work, enriched by various religious, philosophical and literary influences. The Kamba Ramayana differs from Valmiki’s in significant ways. Though cast in the heroic mould of a Purushotama or ‘the best among men’, Valmiki’s still a man. Kamban, on the other hand, never allows the reader to forget the godhood of Rama. His Ravana too, though flawed, is a heroic figure. While Valmiki’s diction is sparse and direct, Kamban’s exuberant prose sparkles with wit and inventiveness.

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About the author

P.S. Sundaram

P.S. Sundaram had a distinguished career as a student of the Universities of Madras and Oxford, and taught English for nearly forty years as Professor at Lahore, Cuttack, Bareilly and Jaipur. He was elected President of the All-India English Teacher's Conference in 1968, and Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Journal of English Studies in 1978-79. He is the author of a book on R.K. Narayan published by Arnold-Heinemann, India in 1973. The present book is entirely a new one on the same novelist. In addition to many essays and lectures on English and American authors published and delivered, Professor Sundaram has of late been tralsating Tamil and Sanskrit classics into English verse. His translation of the poems of Subramania Bharati was published in 1981. He translated the Kural of Tiruvalluvar and the Tiruppavai and the Nacchiyar Tirumoli of Andal in 1987. His translation of the Saundarya Lahari, the Sivananda Lahri and other stotras of Sankaracharya has well been received.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Kamba Ramayana
Format Softcover
Date published: 31.12.2002
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780143028154
length 418p., 7.8 inch X 5.2 inch