Hikayat Seri Rama: The Malay Ramayana

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Translator: Harry AvelingA sample cover of the book: dark red coloured handloom sari with gold embossed nameplate and lettering for the title and author's name. The border of the sari lines the right hand margin of the cover.
Pages: 288
Year of Publication: 2020
Price: Rs 900 / $30
ISBN: 978-81-946740-6-1 (9788194674061)

About the Translator
Professor Harry Aveling (PhD, Malay Studies, National University of Singapore; Doctor of Creative Arts, University of Technology, Sydney) holds honorary appointments in Translation Studies, Monash University, and Asian Studies, La Trobe University, both in Melbourne, Australia. He has translated extensively from Indonesian and Malay, and co-translated from Hindi. In 1991 he received the Anugerah Pengembangan Sastera (Literary Development Award) for his “commitment to the international understanding of Malay literature”. His previous publications with Writers Workshop, India, include Arjuna in Meditation: Three Young Indonesian Poets (1976); The Mastadon and the Condors by W. S. Rendra (1981); The Interior Landscape of the Heart: Tamil Poetry from Malaysia and Singapore (1981), with Dr R. Dhandayudham; and Koong, The Story of a Pigeon (1986) by Iwan Simatupang.

About the Book
In his introduction to the book, Professor Aveling writes:

‘The Indian epic known as The Ramayana exists on a grand scale. “Just a list of languages in which the Rama story is found makes one gasp,” wrote A. K. Ramanujan in his famous essay on three hundred Ramayanas. These languages include “Annamese, Balinese, Bengali, Cambodian, Chinese, Gujarati, Javanese, Kannada, Kashmiri, Khotanese, Laotian, Malaysian, Marathi, Oriya, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Santali, Sinhalese, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan.” (1991: 24. The figure of 300 is commonly ascribed to Bulcke 1950).

There are translations into English of many of these different versions of the Ramayana, including some from Southeast Asia – Thailand (Olsson), Laos (Sahai), Burma (Toru), and Java (Robson), but none of the Malay Hikayat Seri Rama, “The Story of Seri Rama”. The translation offered here is based on an edition of the Malay manuscript from Acheh in north Sumatra, presented in 1633 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud (1573-1645), to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, where Laud was Chancellor. The date makes it perhaps the oldest Malay manuscript to have survived to this day.’

Reviews of the book can be read in The Hindu and Boloji.

Contents

Introduction / 9
References / 19
Select List of Major Characters / 22

Part One: Rawana — God’s Subject

Chapters
1 Rawana Meets the Prophet Adam / 27
2 The State of Indera Puri Nagara / 32
3 The Chronicle of Maharaja Balikasha / 37
4 How Maharaja Rawana Made Peace between Minister Shaksha of Indera Puri Nagara and Maharaja Balikasha of Biru Hasha Purwa / 63

Part Two: Rawana — Rama’s Enemy

Chapters
5 The Dispute over Sita Dewi / 81
6 The Story of Berma Raja Di-Raja / 105
7 Maharaja Rawana Kidnaps Sita Dewi / 106
8 Belia Raja and His Brother Sugriwa / 115
9 Seri Rama Meets Belia Raja / 119
10 Seri Rama Refuses the Kingdom / 129
11 The Monkeys Fight the Raksasas / 143
12 Sita Dewi in Langkapuri / 162
13 Seri Rama Wages War on Maharaja Rawana / 171
14 Seri Rama Is Kidnapped by Patala Maharayan / 182
15 Laksamana Fights Inderajit / 201
16 The Death of Mula Matani / 227
17 The End of the Story of Maharaja Rawana / 243
18 Seri Rama Founds a New Kingdom / 250
19 Seri Rama’s Sons / 262
20 Seri Rama’s Rule / 268
21 Weddings / 273
22 Seri Rama Leads a Penitential Life / 281