Topic: Reimagining Tales from Purāna-s and Itihāsa-s: A Writer’s Journey of Engaging with Epic Heroines
In conversation with Saiswaroopa Iyer
“It is a singular and as yet unexplained phenomenon in the psychology of mankind that out of so many magnificent civilisations, so many powerful, cultured and vigorous nations and empires whose names and deeds crowd the pages of history, only a select few have been able to develop a thoroughly original and self-revealing literature. Still fewer have succeeded in maintaining these characteristics from beginning to end of their literary development. …the Hindus have revealed themselves the most perfectly, continuously and on the most colossal scale, precisely because they have been the most indomitably original in the form and matter of their literature. . . And this immense body of firstrate work has left us so intimate and complete a revelation of national life & history, that the absence of pure historical writings becomes a subject of merely conventional regret.”(Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 1, pp. 146-147)
Over the long march of time and despite all the ebbs and flows in India’s cultural landscape, one remarkable facet of the Indian literary mind – a mind that has immersed itself in the literature that expresses the eternal spirit of India – can never be missed. It keeps expressing the timeless truths revealed to the ancient sages and seers in new forms and with contemporary vocabulary, touching the hearts and minds of generations across ages.
For this month’s Insightful Conversation, AuroBharati invited one such author, Ms. Saiswaroopa Iyer, who has mastered the art of telling stories inspired by the vast body of Indian literature, which in the words of Sri Aurobindo, is “thoroughly original and self-revealing.”
What is unique about Ms. Iyer books is the focus on women protagonists. She reimagines and retells stories from the Mahabharata, the Puranas and various other ancient texts of India which continue to reveal for the Indian mind those intimate and detailed aspects of a truly national cultural life and history – history that lives in collective memory of the race – which are often ignored or deliberately rejected by the official historiography.
Read more about this conversation HERE.
Watch the full conversation here:
Renaissance is our monthly e-journal, highlighting numerous forms in which the eternal spirit of India is being reborn and renewed. It is a space featuring inspiring articles, essays, stories, videos, reflections and accounts of India and her creative genius manifesting in various domains – spiritual, artistic, literary, philosophic, scientific, aesthetic.