Chapter

Chasing Sītā on a Global/Local Interface

Mandakranta Bose

in The Ramayana Revisited

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195168327
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835362 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195168321.003.0013
 Chasing Sītā on a Global/Local Interface

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This chapter inquires into the use of the story in East Timor as a framework within which the nation's troubled and erased history is being reconstructed. The use of the Rāmāyana as a mediating artifact between politics and semiotics is examined. In East Timor, the historical experience of foreign domination and destruction is sought to be recovered, interpreted, and validated within an allegorical framework supplied by the theme of Sītā's abduction by Ravana, which is conveyed through a unique medium, that of embossed shell casings depicting the Rāmāyana episode. It is argued that this ekphrastic entry into sites of domination and contest from which conventional language has been erased has been made possible by the availability of the Rāmāyana as a narrative model.

Keywords: Rāmāyana; East Timor; history; narrative model

Chapter.  12847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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