The Ramcharitmanas 1
The most popular devotional text recounting the adventures of the Hindu god Ram
The Ramcharitmanas, composed by the poet-saint Tulsidas in the sixteenth century during a dynamic period of religious reform, was instrumental in making the story of Ram-and his divine feats against Ravan, the demon king of Lanka-widely accessible to the common people for the first time. Prior to that, this tale was exclusively the preserve of the priestly class who could read Valmiki's Sanskrit epic, The Ramayana. By reimagining Valmiki's text in the vernacular language, as a poem to be imbibed through recitation rather than reading, Tulsidas kindled a devotional revolution, forever changing the religious and social landscape of northern India.
Rohini Chowdhury's exquisite translation brings Tulsidas's magnum opus vividly to life, and her detailed introduction sheds crucial light on the poet and his work, placing them both in the wider context of Hindi literature.
Somadeva was a Kashmiri Saivite Brahmin, who states he was the court poet of King Anantadeva of Kashmir, and the son of a Brahmin called Ramadevabhatta. Somadeva's collection of stories was intended for Queen Suryavati's entertainment. Since then, his stories have gained acclaim all around the world.
Rohini Chowdhury is a children's writer and established literary translator. As a children's writer, she has more than twenty books and several short stories to her credit. Her published writing is in both English and Hindi and covers a wide spectrum of literary genres including novels, short fiction, comics, and non-fiction. As a literary translator, her primary languages are pre-modern (Braj Bhasha and Avadhi) and modern (Khari Boli) Hindi, and English. Her translations include the seventeenth century Braj Bhasha text Ardhakathanak, widely regarded as the first autobiography in an Indian language, into modern Hindi and into English. Her literary interests include mythology, folklore, mathematics and history.
She runs a story website at www.longlongtimeago.com.
Tulsidas, the most important of the saint-poets of the medieval Bhakti movement in northern India, is best remembered for his magnum opus, The Ramcharitmanas, regarded as one of the greatest achievements of Hindi literature.
CHOWDHURY, ROHINI (Translator)
Rohini Chowdhury is a renowned translator and writer. Her translations include, among others, Banarasidas's Ardhakathanak: A Half Story for Penguin Classics.