January 26, 2016

Interesting debate on at a session titled `Ramcharitmanas: The Life of a Text' at Jan 2016 Jaipur Literary Festival

The Times of India

Delhi University professor stirs row with comment on Ramcharitmanas

| TNN | Jan 24, 2016, 09.16 AM IST
Jaipur: Delhi university professor Harish Trivedi strirred the hornet's nest and triggered some online debate and outrage on Saturday when he said Goswami Tulsidas had sought shelter inside a mosque -possibly the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya -while writing the Ramcharitmanas.Trivedi was a speaker in a discussion on Ramcharitmanas with Philip Lutgendorf, professor of Hindi and modern Indian Studies at the University of Iowa, who has translated the text to English, and poet Ashok Vajpeyi, at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Titled `Ramcharitmanas: The Life of a Text', speakers Trivedi, Lutgendorf and Vajpeyi emphasised the need to cultivte the rich tradition of poetry and language of the Ramcharitmas, and, more importantly , to separate the political from the cultural.Trivedi said, "Ram isn't just a religious concept. He cannot belong to one group of people.What happened in 1992 was not Ram's fault. Someone else was responsible. Those of us who do not believe in that ideology bear the responsibility of not letting a group of people setting off with the rich poetic tradition of Ram of Ramcharitmanas. It is our responsibility to separate the political from the cultural, and to emphasise the importance of the latter." The professor of post colonialism also said it was "secular" of the organizers of the festival to hold a discussion on Ramcharitmanas at a venue called the `Mughal Tent' when in a sense Tulsidas had written the Ramcharitmanas under the Mughal tent too, in the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar. The first set of tweets about Trivedi's statement by author Rashmi Bansal led to outrage among twitterati.More debate and counters to Trivedi's comments followed.