A Woman's Ramayana: Candrāvatī's Bengali Epic, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Woman's Ramayana

Candrāvatī's Bengali Epic, 1st Edition

By Mandakranta Bose, Sarika Priyadarshini Bose


162 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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The Rāmāyana, an ancient epic of India, with audiences across vast stretches of time and geography, continues to influence numberless readers socially and morally through its many re-tellings. Made available in English for the first time, the 16th century version presented here is by Candrāvatī, a woman poet from Bengal. It is a highly individual rendition as a tale told from a woman's point of view which, instead of celebrating masculine heroism, laments the suffering of women caught in the play of male ego.

This book presents a translation and commentary on the text, with an extensive introduction that scrutinizes its social and cultural context and correlates its literary identity with its ideological implications. Taken together, the narrative and the critical study offered here expand the understanding both of the history of women’s self-expression in India and the cultural potency of the epic tale. The book is of interest equally to students and researchers of South Asian narratives, Rāmāyana studies and gender issues.


"This book is a useful contribution to world literature in the sense that it in a way brings to light a work that was mostly orally transmitted, and that too in a vernacular language, so that now the non-Bengali speaker has access to it. It can therefore be of interest to any Ramayana enthusiast, to scholars studying Bengali/Indian literature(s), and/or women’s writings, but also to the general public, because the whole book, including (if not especially) the translation, is accessible to the non-specialist as well."

Suganya Anandakichenin, E´cole francaise d’Extreˆme-Orient

The Journal of Hindu Studies 2015;8:323–324

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Candrāvatī Rāmāyana Part 1 3. Candrāvatī Rāmāyana Part 2 4. Candrāvatī Rāmāyana Part 3 5. Appendix 1. Vālmīki Rāmāyana 6. Appendix 2. Krttivāsī Rāmāyana 7. Appendix 3. Narrative Parallels and Omissions 8. Appendix 4. Nayāncāñd Ghos's Candrāvatī 9. Appendix 5. Glossary

About the Authors

Mandakranta Bose is Professor Emerita at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She has published widely on the classical performing arts and literature of India, gender studies and Hinduism.

Sarika Priyadarshini Bose is Lecturer in English at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her research interests and publications include Victorian drama and theatre, children’s literature, gender studies and composition.

About the Series

Routledge Hindu Studies Series

This series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, intends primarily  the publication of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical projects aimed at bringing Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. The series invites original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Proposals for annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions will also be considered.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Hinduism / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General