“I resemble everyone/ but myself”: Revisiting A K Ramanujan and the Controversy Over “Three Hundred Ramanayas”

Poet, folklorist, essayist, and translator, A K Ramanujan, died on 13 July, twenty four years ago. A multilingual writer, Ramanujan worked tirelessly in translation after translation to draw our attention to folktales, oral stories, and literatures from classical Tamil, a language that is older than Sanskrit. In 2008, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), took offence to his essay “Three Hundred Ramayanas” , and demanded that it be excluded from the then undergraduate syllabus of Delhi University. They claimed that the play was “offensive to the beliefs of millions of Hindus”. Was it really so? In the story below, we revisit Delhi University, the essay, and the man who was at the centre of the storm, A K Ramanujan.


Read Ramanujan's essay here.

Read Githa Hariharan​'s essay on the Ramakein, a retelling of the Ramayana in Thailand here.

Read Vivek Narayanan​'s translations from Valmiki's Ramayana here.