MAHĀBHĀRATA: The Epic of India

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Mahābhārata has always been the dominant cultural text of Ancient Bhāratavarṣa to stir the imagination of different ages. In this article, I venture to study the interpretation of Mahābhārata and the Woman of Mahābhārata during Colonial Rule, with the intention to understand the dialogic process between a colonized culture and colonizer culture. As such, in this paper, with reference to Kunti’s portrayal in Romesh Chunder Dutt’s (1848-1909) Mahābhārata re-telling, I propose to study the Construction/Re-Construction and Fashioning/Re-Fashioning of the Woman of Mahābhārata in Colonial India in English Re-tellings. Romesh Chunder Dutt’s Mahabharata: the epic of India rendered into English verse in English first appeared in 1898, hence, expectedly, Dutt’s renderings represent the outlook on Mahābhārata in India in its formative days as a Nation. It is also expected that Dutt’s portrayal of Kunti would give us valuable insight into the Construction of Woman in those days, as also give us insight into Indian Writing in English in its formative days. Kunti and Draupadī are the foremost Woman in Classical Mahābhārata, and understanding Woman of Mahābhārata cannot be fruitful without understanding Kunti first. Choice of Kunti as Representative Woman is also motivated by Tradition – as Kunti is one of the celebrated Pañca-Kanyās of Indian Itihāsa-Puraṇa-Kāvya. In this paper I shall argue that though laudable attempt of Dutt to render Mahābhārata to the mass has contributed to keeping alive Mahābhārata in Cultural Memory and inspired perennial search for Mahābhārata’s relevance in modern world, such attempt ironically acts as block in properly understanding Mahābhārata, Woman of Mahābhārata, and consequently Ancient Bhāratavarṣa. KUNTI, TH... ... middle of paper ... ... in the light of Classical Mahābhārata, let us examine this Script. 2. Kunti in Classical Mahābhārata . Works Cited 1. Bandyopadhyay, Indrajit. 2011, Mystery of Birth and Death in Mahabharata. ISBN: 978-1-105-22137-8. Lulu Press Inc. 2. Hirsch, Marianne and Valerie Smith. 2002, Feminism and Cultural Memory: An Introduction. Signs, Vol. 28, No. 1, Gender and Cultural Memory, The University of Chicago Press, pp. 1-19 3. K. Kunjunni Raja, 2009, ‘Architectonics of the Mahabharata’, in TRS Sharma ed. Reflections and Variations on the Mahabharata, Sahitya Academy, New Delhi, p-64-68 4. Dutt, Romesh Chunder. 1890, A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Based on Sanscrit Literature. 3 vols. Thacker, Spink and Co.; Trübner and Co., Calcutta-London 5. Dutt, Romesh Chunder. 1898, Mahabharata: the epic of India rendered into English verse, London: J. M. Dent and Co.
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