Arshia Sattar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Arshia Sattar (born 1960) is an Indian translator, facilitator, author, and director.


Arshia Sattar obtained her PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1990. Her doctoral advisor was Wendy Doniger, a renowned Indologist. Her abridged translations of the epic Sanskrit texts, Kathasaritsagara and Valmiki's Ramayana have both been published by Penguin Books. Her book reviews and articles appear regularly in The Times of India, The Illustrated Weekly of India and the Indian Review of Books.

She has also worked with documentary film and theatre. Most recently, she taught Indian Studies at the Mahindra United World College of India in Pune for five years. She currently works as a freelance writer and researcher. She was previously the programming director at OpenSpace,[1] an NGO committed to promoting awareness of issues such as globalization. She has also been a visiting lecturer at Middlebury College, teaching courses on Indian cinema and cultural politics. In 2005, Sattar was the program director for the Rangashankara theater festival in Bengaluru. She also sometimes lectures at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India, and the Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore, India where she gives a week-long class on Indian narrative.

Arshia Sattar, along with G W Gibson co-founded the Sangam House Writing residency in 2008. This is the first and only fully funded writer's residency in India.

Though she has translated valmiki ramayana, she seems to have read translations of the valmiki ramayana and not the original in Sanskrit. The tone of the Valmiki in his original work is very simple, he does not judge characters, he simply writes about how they lived and what they did. It being left to the reader to decide his own actions(based on dharma) in life and how a person's actions effect him. She also writes about Ravana, describing him to be an honorable man as he does not force himself upon sita. This is far from the truth, the uttarakanda of valmiki ramayana mentions that Ravana was cursed by Brahma after abusing some women. He is cursed that if he forces himself upon a woman he will instantly die. Also, Ravana does not love Sita, he lusts for her, and it is his lust for another man's wife, the adharma, that kills him. It is not only his stubborn refusal, but also his refusal to change from his path of adharma that kills ravana. The book written by the author is not a translation of Valmiki's Ramayana, but her version of the epic, her understanding and description of events in ramayana. The book was expected to be an objective translation.


  • Sattar, Arshia (1994). Tales from the Kathāsaritsāgara. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140247213.
  • Sattar, Arshia (1996). The Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki. Viking. ISBN 978-0-14-029866-6.


  1. ^ Archived from the original on January 8, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)