Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Kamba Ramayana, reviewed by Jaideep Khanduja

Written by: Kamban (originally in Tamil)
Translated by: P.S. Sundaram
Edited by: N.S. Jagganathan

Penguin has done a great job by publishing this unnoticed and hidden gem not known to many a people due to language barrier. The translation in English has opened its door not only to the non-Tamil knowing people in India, but to all people interested in Indian Culture, epics and history. The translation is neat to understand the minutest of the drum beat tried to be told in Kamba Ramayana.

Originally written in 12th century in Tamil by the son of a drummer of a temple, whose name was Kamban, and who had a good mastery over Tamil and Sanskrit. The two versions of Ramayana one written in Tamil by Kamban and the other written in Sanskrit by Valmiki are state of the art respectively but though the theme of the epic remains the same, the two versions have many differences. Main is that Valmiki Ramayana presents Lord Rama as a simple ordinary man whereas the Kamban Ramayana emphasizes on the godhood of Lord Rama.

The book becomes a must read for all as it brings into light many instances not so far known or read anywhere else. Otherwise also it is written and translated so well that it becomes a treat for eyes, heart and mind.

Discover more about the Kamba Ramayana here.

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