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Ram is the most common name in India, of people and places—even occurring as prefixes and suffixes. In this issue, we dig through the numerous iterations of the Lord—from Shaivites in Kashmir to Ramnamis in Chhattisgarh, Ayodhya footsoldiers to the Ram Van Gaman tourism trail—to try and locate the unknowable and the infinite.

Issue Date : 10 October 2022

National

Growing Up With Ram And His Epic Story

Bhakti, or devotion, is only a part of the epic, where anthropology, nature, agriculture, gender justice, mythology and knowledge, among many issues, come into play


National

The Many Faces And Transformations Of Ram And His Story

If Tulsidas made Ram a self-effacing family man and king to be worshipped, the Ayodhya movement lent him a political identity. Tulsidas’s Ram was a stoic and gentle being. L.K. Advani’s Ram is an electoral warrior.

National

Ramayan: Who Is Ram? Defining The Enigma

Millions, who may not agree with Ram’s ideals, engage with his story, which calls upon them to confront their own behaviour


National

Ramayan: Who Is Ram And What Is His Story?

Ramayana is a story of struggle against society’s imposed morality, of kings and queens who are products of their circumstances and choices

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National

Ram Van Gaman: Where Ramayana Is Not Just A Story, But Is Actually Alive

The bestselling author and his producer-director recall their travels through Chitrakoot, shooting for a TV show on the Ram Van Gaman trail


National

Lesson On Environment From Ramayan

The epic of Ramayan whose multiple renditions are known for the proverbial and more obvious battle of good versus evil also contains embedded narratives about the importance of ecology


National

Rebels’ Ramayana: Periyar And Ambedkar’s Critique Of Ramayana

Both Periyar and Ambedkar looked at the Ramayana as a story that perpetuated the subjugation of non-Aryans and Dalits


National

Mithila’s Son-In-Law: Ram May Be God For Rest Of The World, But Not At Sita’s Maika

Until a few years ago, the elders of Mithila refrained from even drinking water in Ayodhya, because nobody eats or drinks at the daughter’s sasural.


National

'Sri Ram To Me Is Not Just A Deity, But A Way Of Life'

Outlook asked people across India who Ram is and what the Ramayana means to them. Here is what we found.


National

In The Abode of Sita: Ram Worship Not As Old As You Are Led To Believe

Adivasis in Jharkhand contest the view that Ram worship has a long history in the tribal dominated state


National

Dussehra: The Many Ramayanas In Northeast And The Folklores

Ram Navami And Dussehra in Northeast: In many tribal versions, certain characters and events of the Valmiki Ramayana change according to the culture, tradition, ecology and the animistic faiths. Hence, they become more of a cultural metaphor than sacred texts.


Art & Entertainment

Ram As Purabiya’s Own Family Man

In the traditional folk world of the region, Ram is popular as bridegroom and Ram as groom or son-in-law takes precedence over Ram the victor


National

Striking An Optimistic Note In Times Of Hate, Distrust

A scholar reminisces his growing up in a sleepy town in Bihar and how its secular fabric changed after loud-mouthed Hindu fanatic leaders landed there


National

In The Land Of Asurs Where God Is Formless

The descendants of Mahishasura, found in the Gumla, Lohardaga, Palamu and Latehar districts of Jharkhand, do not know about Ram’s victory over Asurs


Books

Asura: The Last Words Uttered By Ravan

A creative peep into the last hours of the Asura king Ravan after he is vanquished in the epic battle of Ramayan


National

Mixing Religion With Politics And Invoking Ram's Name

Hinduism is now going through a tectonic change, becoming more Abrahamic in its nature, invoking god’s name as an aggressive slogan, insisting on one holy place and the supremacy of one expression of god


National

Bisrakh: A Village That Doesn't Celebrate Dussehrra, Here's Why

Residents of Bisrakh, a village in Uttar Pradesh, claim to have descended from the Demon King Ravan and do not celebrate Dussehra


Art & Entertainment

Playing Ramadasu On Screen A Recipe For Success

From Naggayu to Nagarjuna, mega stars of South cinema have played the 16th century Telugu Ram Bhakt singer-poet


National

Reclaiming What Belongs To Them With Ram’s Blessings

Head of Kinnar Akhada tells how the transgender community got its legitimacy in 2018, with of course, Ram’s blessings


National

At Punaura Dham In Sitamarhi, Locals Worship Sita And Treat Ram Like Their Son-in-law

On Ram Navami, the Lord is welcomed with friendly abuses by the women, the way they treat other son-in-laws


National

Being Sita In A Man’s World: On Feminist Retellings Of The Ramayana

Chandrabati's Ramayana marginalises Ram, and then goes on to critique him from Sita's perspective


National

Despite Strong Political Patronage Ram Doesn’t Have Many Worshippers In Maharashtra

Despite Shiv Sena’s vociferous support to the cause of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, there are not many temples devoted to Lord Rama in Maharashtra. The major temples are confined to pockets in Nashik.


National

Dussehra In Kashmir: Ram And Ramayana Arrived In The Valley With The Dogras

Wors­hip of Ram started in Kashmir after the Dogra rulers  (1846­-­1947) erected temples dedicated to Ram in the Valley, including the Berber Shah temple. Along with the temples arrived festivals like Ram Navami and Dussehra.


National

Dussehra: Bengal's Tryst With Alternative Readings Of The Ramayana

Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, Sukumar Ray and the Bengal Renaissance's encounters with Ram


National

Ram Ke Naam: What The Names Tell

A philologist's interpretation of the age when the epic of Ramayan was composed, based on the names of the characters in the story


National

Ramayana Diary: Days Of Bonhomie

Recollections of a childhood in the shadow of Ram


National

How Ramnami Sect In Chhattisgarh Fights India's Brutal Caste System By Tattooing Ram's Name

A central Indian community marks its devotion to Ram by tattooing his name all over their bodies as a protest against caste oppression. But their youth are abandoning the tradition as it impedes their social acceptance.


International

International Day of Older Persons: Investing In Every Stage Of Her Life

International Day of Older Persons is an occasion to focus attention on an intergenerational life-cycle approach to ensure healthy and active ageing for future older people, especially women, so that they can contribute towards sustainable development.