The IUP Journal of English Studies
Refashioning Ahalya: Analyzing Voices in Contemporary Renditions and Their Relevance

Article Details
Pub. Date : Sep, 2022
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES070922
Author Name : Aditi Tiwari and Priyanka Chaudhary
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 12



The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are focal points for Indian cultural ethos, which are imbibed in the nation's collective consciousness. Myth being fluid and venerated invites probing- the renderings of which have become a new genre and a new literature of refashioning and fresh perspectives. Retellings exist in variations in the narrative and also in the shift of the center. Ramkatha (story of Rama) culture, developed by Valmiki Ramayana, is an integral part of us. The earlier renditions were based on the distinct regional and cultural beliefs where the center (Rama) stays intact but the narrative changes. However, in contemporary renderings, due to emerging movements with space and time, the tellings like Sita's Sister, Shanta, Asura, and Ahalya's Awakening decipher peripheral characters' perspectives and give them a voice. The paper analyzes the hermeneutics of the renditions of Ahalya's episode in Ramayana, presenting the reason for the changed interpretations by contemporary authors.

Texts are cultural artefacts. Every community has its cultural beliefs and practices that are constructed from the mythology and Itihasa of the community. Mythology is a study of folklore or traditional spoken stories of a culture known as myth, and these ''myths as a cultural construct bind people together as communities across the world" (Beena 2019, 13). Like mythology creates cultural beliefs and traditions, Itihasa, as stated by mythologist Pattnaik (2017), is a cultural memoir. Itihasa 'thus/so indeed it was', refers to purvavritta, i.e., events of past, "something that explains the culture's mind of the period/age over time and space" (Pattnaik 2017). Looking at the term itihasa in the region of its origin, Ramayana and Mahabharata the oldest epic poems are considered itihasa as well as mythology in Hindu tradition.