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A. K. Ramanujan's Essay and Its Controversy

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The Essay

  • A. K. Ramanujan's "Three Hundred Rāmāyaṇas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation." The standard, authorized text of the essay is published in Vinay Dharwadker, general editor, The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999, 2004), pp. 131-60, with notes and references on pp. 561-64.

Core Mission

  • To elucidate the scholarly materials, arguments, methods, goals, and conclusions of "Three Hundred Rāmāyaṇas" by A.K. Ramanujan;
  • To present and analyze the facts of the public controversy surrounding the essay;
  • To provide critical evaluations of the essay and the controversy by several readers, prepared individually and collectively;
  • To open up a cooperative, synergistic, thoughtful, and lively dialogue on this essay and on censorship and free speech at large;

Our Responsibilities

  • The universal responsibility to appeal to our shared capacity for reason, persuasion, and the appreciation of beauty;
  • The moral responsibility to adhere to the facts of the case, as we know and understand them, without exceeding their limits (and hence limiting ourselves to what the facts “warrant”);
  • The ethical responsibility to be always aware that anything stated publicly has the potential to cause hurt to other people, and hence may have effects that we do not intend;
  • The political responsibility to be judicious in our public statements, so that we do not harm any cause or position we represent, in the short as well as the long term;
  • The social responsibility to inform the public knowledgeably and wisely about the facts of the case, and to advocate the most reasonable and persuasive position accordingly; and
  • The historical and cultural responsibility to always understand and explain the facts of the case in the contexts of culture and history, with the latter also understood as factually as possible. (A9)

Quick Links

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A. K. Ramanujan

1. Life
2. Contributions
3. List of works

Three Hundred Rāmāyaṇas

1. Key Points and Summary
2. Essay Accomplishments
3. Scholarly Questions
4. Eight Critiques


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3. Legal


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Important Resources

"The engineers of the future will be poets."
~ Terence McKennaWelcome to the Three Hundred Ramayanas

A. K. Ramanujan's Essay and Its Controversy