Thursday, December 16, 2010

Indian Epic Storybooks: Women Characters

There are lots of important women in the epics, along with other female characters such as the goddesses and apsaras or the rakshasis and asuras. If you focus on a major character, you could do a whole Storybook just about that character (Sita, for example, could have a whole Storybook of her own, and so could Kunti or Draupadi), while for the minor characters, you would want to choose different characters to include in your Storybook, perhaps drawing on both epics (we'll be reading the Ramayana for the first half of the semester, and then the Mahabharata in the second half).

As you are reading, you will meet many female characters in both epics; here is a list of some of the more notable characters linked to their Wikipedia articles:

Ramayana characters: Sita, Manthara / Kooni, Kaikeyi, Kausalya, Ahalya, Tara, Mandodari, and Anasuya.

Mahabharata characters: Satyavati, Amba, Kunti, Madri, Gandhari, Draupadi, Subhadra, Sudeshna, Uttara, Damayanti, and Savitri.

Also, be sure to check out the page about goddesses and the page about rakshasas, where you will find some non-human female characters who might interest you too!

Of course there are also a lot of past Storybooks about women which you can browse through, exploring the different themes and storytelling styles that past students have used for this topic.

You might also be interested in reading about the Panchakanya, the five maidens of the Hindu tradition:

Panchakanya - Five Maidens)


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