Excavating the fossils of India : representations of the Mahabharata and Ramayana in post-colonial Indian literature and film
Rathiy Devi Ramanathan
Date of Issue2009
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The direction of the graduation essay lies in the examination of postcolonial representations of pre-colonial Indian epics. Two major Indian epics, namely the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, will be discussed. The essay establishes the different ways in which post-colonial Indian authors represent pre-colonial epics in their works. It will also establish issues of continuity between these epics and the postcolonial context in which the authors are writing from. The essay will be divided into two main parts: the nation and gender. In the discourse on the nation, the manner in which India is imagined through a regression into classical antiquity will be discussed. This will be done by examining Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel (1993). The novel narrates modern Indian history through the narrative framework of the Mahabharata. The gender segment of the essay will focus exclusively on the representation of women in the post-colonial retellings of the epics. This segment will pay close attention to the study of Sita, the venerated heroine of the Ramayana and the infamous practice of Sati in India. Deepa Mehta’s insightful film Fire (1996) will be examined in this segment.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University