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Ramayana revisited by 23 renowned scholars from across the globe at DSA International Conference

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The two day international conference on Ramayana Retellings in South India and South East Asia pays tribute to renowned historian Prof. D. S. Achuta Rao

Bangalore, 15th September 2017: An International Conference on Ramayana Retellings in South India and South East Asia was held at Reva University on the 14th and 15th of September. The conference was held in honour of noted historian Prof. D S Achuta Rao, the professor from Mysore University, who unravelled the social and administrative history of Mysore through a study of contemporary materials available from the periods 1600 and 1800. The legacy of Professor Achuta Rao, who passed away at 47 in 1965, is resurrected through a series of events through 2017 under the aegis the DSA Memorial Trust.
Ramayana revisited by 23 renowned scholars from across the globe at DSA International Conference

Prof. Rao had made a mark for himself through meticulous research which brought into the limelight much of Mysore’s forgotten history. The event an international conference on Ramayana was conceived by Prof. S Settar of the Bangalore-based National Institute of Advanced Studies, and a former Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and put together with Prof. Parul Pandya Dhar, Art Historian from Delhi University

The conference, with the theme ‘Connecting Cultures Ramayana Retellings in South India and South East Asia’ saw over twenty four eminent historians from universities in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, France, UK, USA and Canada coming to speak at the event covering literary, performance and visual cultures of Ramayana. Also showcased was an exhibition on the life and works of Prof. D S Achuta Rao, designed by his grand-daughter, Surabhi Gurukar.

Professor S. Settar, Emeritus Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies said, “Since the early history period, the epic travelled along maritime and land routes and reinvented in various parts of South East Asia, be it the Kakawin Ramayana of Central Java, the Ramakien of Thailand, the Reamker of Cambodia, the Malay Hikayat Seri Rama, or the Balinese Ramayana. Although the broad framework is that of Valmiki, regionalization in folk theatre, sculptures, paintings and literature is fascinating”

The conference also honoured the distinguished students of Prof. D S Achuta Rao. This was followed by a specially composed dance tribute to Prof. Achuta Rao. ‘Ramanubhava-

Experiencing the Adikavya through dance’ was choreographed by the well-known Kathak exponent, Madhu Nataraj and was presented by her and the Natya Stem Dance Kampni.

Expressing his delight, D. A Prasanna, son of Prof. Achuta Rao said, “Our family has established a significant endowment in History to perpetuate Prof. Achuta Rao’s legacy by promoting research and publications in history. This is the third History conference in 2017 sponsored by DSA endowment. We have launched a DSA History Channel on You Tube hosting the talks at these seminars. DSA History series has brought out two publications well received and plans to release three more interesting history books under Manipal University Press. Endowments have been setup in Universities of Mysore and Manipal to perpetuate Prof. Achuta Rao’s memory”

Professor S.Y. Kulakarni, Vice Chancellor of Reva University, said “REVA University has always been a symbol of cultural diaspora and diversity as well as the amalgamation of various cultures, countries and ideologies. Reinventing and redirecting has often been the motto of the university. Scholastic learning has now been turned into holistic learning and every day is a breath of fresh air. While science and technology help to support life, literature and culture is life and history is a rendition of it.”

About Professor D. S. Achuta Rao

Prof D S Achuta Rao (1917-1965) had his education in Mysore University and was an MA in History. He devoted 25 years of his career teaching History at the First Grade colleges in Bangalore, Tumkur, and Mysore and taught graduate students at the Maharaja's College and Manasagangotri in Mysore University. He was a keen researcher and published a number of papers on Mysore history during the period 1500-1800CE.

He closely followed Indian National Movement, struggles of Sukarno, Ho Chi Min and Asian liberation movements. He travelled widely and was a passionate teacher of recent Asian History. He was a pioneer in the study of administrative documents, scripts, and letters to research post medieval social and administrative history of Mysore.

DSA was an exceptional lecturer and was very popular among his students. He was an affectionate, disciplined, and systematic teacher and a father

About Reva University

REVA University, acting on the vision of the Chancellor, Dr. P. Shyama Raju, aspires to inspire scholars to achieve excellence and considers it one of their USPs. The norms, requisites and standards of educating the leaders of tomorrow are one of the dynamisms that the university adopts to ensure a constant flow of holistic learning. Every opportunity is provided by the University. The key constituents – its faculty members, staff and students and – excel in their domain of expertise and contribute to every task with sincerity. The most interesting thing is the transition from the teacher-centric focus to the learner-centric approach in imparting knowledge. The University focuses on giving back to the community, the society and the nation. The main focus is the creation, preservation and dissemination of knowledge and attainment of excellence in different disciplines. REVA University has been able to achieve global standards and will continue to do so.

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