This Subject Includes

  • Course No: HS 250
  • Course: B.Tech
  • Semester: VII
  • Title: Introduction to the Indian Epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata
  • Stream: English
  • Preamble / Objectives (Optional): This course will introduce students to the two major Indian epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. These texts will be analyzed for their formal elements, which include their construction of authorship, their imagination of space and time through the deployment of certain oral elements including formulae and memory and for their treatment of complex social, ethical and political issues. Selected excerpts will be read and discussed from the texts followed by a discussion of modern retellings of the epics from feminist and Dalit perspectives.

    Course Content/ Syllabus (as a single paragraph if it is not containing more than one subject. Sub-topics/ Sections may be separated by commas(,). Topics may be separated by Semi-Colons(;). Chapters may be separated by Full-Stop(.). While starting with broad heading, it may be indicated with Colon symbol before the topics. For example: Multivariable Calculus: Limits of functions, Continuity, …… )Introduction to the two Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata: different approaches to the study of the epics, their formal similarities; authorship and temporality in the epics: memory, repetition, orality and formulae; social, ethical and political concerns; contemporary debates on the epics; a focus on literary and textual retellings of Ramayana and Mahabharata from feminist and Dalit perspectives: Paula Richman’s Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in India, Sreekantan Nair and Sara Joseph’s Retelling the Ramayana” ‘Kanchana Sita’ and ‘Five Ramayana Stories’, M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s Bhima Lone Warrior, Devdutt Pattanaik’s Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of Ramayana.


    1.Vyasa, The Mahabharata. John D. Smith (trans.) Penguin Classics. 2009

    2.Valmiki, Ramayana. Arshia Sattar (trans.) Penguin Random House India. 2016.

    3.Paula Richman, Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in India. Oxford University Press. 1997.


    1.V.S. Sukhthankar, The Meaning of the Mahabharata. Motilal Banarasidass. 2016.

    2.Irawati Karve, Yuganta: the end of an epoch. Orient Blackswan. 2016.

    3.Sreekantan Nair and Sara Joseph, Retelling the Ramayana: ‘Kanchana Sita’ and ‘Five Ramayana Stories’. Sankranarayanan Vasanthi (trans.) Oxford University Press India. 2005.

    4.M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Bhima Lone Warrior. Harper Perennial India. 2013.