Year of Graduation


Document Type




Directing Professor

Dr. Jon Bohland


I shall be writing about the Ramayana as a ruling text and the post colonial interpretation of Hindu mythology perpetuating gender roles and encourages women to be submissive. The imposition of Western ideals alters the perception of cultural expectations of women and that to behave misogynistically is to be true to traditional Indian values. The Ramayana is a fable recorded in religious text, The Bhagavad Gita, and is taught to children to convey the Hindu objective of human pursuit composed of duties, prosperity, desire, spiritual liberation. The original text consists of nearly twenty four thousand verses in the Shloka meter, about five hundred chapters, and divided into seven books written in Sanskrit as orated by Valmiki. Naturally when translating lengthy text into a more perceivable story there are many details, and even considerable portions, which are omitted so that the work is still consumable but the elements, events, and syntax chosen reflect upon what we as a society consider to be important values. Many abridged versions do no justice to the original story, thus completely altering the moral to be interpreted. Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has manipulated understandings of the Ramayana to best serve its political aims since 1980, and to further an inherently sexist and discriminatory agenda. By attempting to understand pre-modern Hindu texts and how they determine societal practices and norms in India for centuries to come help us understand the origins of gender conflict in our country, what affect westernisation has had, and perhaps guide a way to reach gender equality.