Ramayana revisited by 23 renowned scholars from across the globe at International Conference

Bangalore, 15th September: An International Conference on Ramayana Retellings in South India and South East Asia was held at Reva University on the 14th and 15th of September. The conference was held in honour of noted historian Prof. D S Achuta Rao, the professor from Mysore University, who unravelled the social and administrative history of Mysore through a study of contemporary materials available from the periods 1600 and 1800. The legacy of Professor Achuta Rao, who passed away at 47 in 1965, is resurrected through a series of events through 2017 under the aegis the DSA Memorial Trust.

Prof. Raohad made a mark for himself through meticulous research which brought into thelimelight much of Mysore’s forgotten history. The event an internationalconference on Ramayana was conceived by Prof. S Settar of the Bangalore-basedNational Institute of Advanced Studies, and a former Chairman of the IndianCouncil of Historical Research (ICHR) and put together with Prof. Parul PandyaDhar, Art Historian from Delhi University 

Theconference, with the theme ‘Connecting Cultures Ramayana Retellings in SouthIndia and South East Asia’ saw over twenty four eminent historians fromuniversities in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia,Vietnam, France, UK, USA and Canada coming to speak at the event coveringliterary, performance and visual cultures of Ramayana. Also showcased was anexhibition on the life and works of Prof. D S Achuta Rao, designed by hisgrand-daughter, Surabhi Gurukar.Professor S. Settar, Emeritus Professor, National Institute of AdvancedStudies said, “Since the early history period, the epic travelledalong maritime and land routes and reinvented in various parts of South EastAsia, be it the Kakawin Ramayana of Central Java, the Ramakien of Thailand, theReamker of Cambodia, the Malay Hikayat Seri Rama, or the Balinese Ramayana.Although the broad framework is that of Valmiki, regionalization in folktheatre, sculptures, paintings and literature is fascinating” 

Theconference also honoured the distinguished students of Prof. D S Achuta Rao.This was followed by a specially composed dance tribute to Prof. Achuta Rao. ‘Ramanubhava- 

Experiencingthe Adikavya through dance’ was choreographed by the well-known Kathak exponent, Madhu Nataraj andwas presented by her and the Natya Stem Dance Kampni. 

Expressinghis delight, D. A Prasanna, son of Prof. Achuta Rao said, “Our family hasestablished a significant endowment in History to perpetuate Prof. Achuta Rao’slegacy by promoting research and publications in history. This is the thirdHistory conference in 2017 sponsored by DSA endowment. We have launched a DSAHistory Channel on You Tube hosting the talks at these seminars. DSA Historyseries has brought out two publications well received and plans to releasethree more interesting history books under Manipal University Press. Endowmentshave been setup in Universities of Mysore and Manipal to perpetuate Prof.Achuta Rao’s memory” 

ProfessorS.Y. Kulakarni, Vice Chancellor of Reva University, said “REVAUniversity has always been a symbol of cultural diaspora and diversity as wellas the amalgamation of various cultures, countries and ideologies. Reinventingand redirecting has often been the motto of the university. Scholastic learninghas now been turned into holistic learning and every day is a breath of freshair. While science and technology help to support life, literature and cultureis life and history is a rendition of it.”

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