Krittivasi Ramayan (Bengali: কৃত্তিবাসি রামায়ণ), or Krittibasi Ramayan or Sri Ram Panchali (Bengali: শ্রীরাম পাঁচালী), composed by 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha, is a translation of the Ramayana into Bengali, which represents the first translation of the Ramayana into any Indian language other than Sanskrit. Written in the traditional Ramayan Panchali form of Middle Bengali literature, the Krittivasi Ramayana is not just a rewording of the original Indian epic, but a vivid depiction of the society and culture of Bengal in the Middle Ages.
Extant manuscripts are presently stored in West Bengal universities such as the University of Calcutta, Visva-Bharati University, Rabindra Bharati University, Jadavpur University, University of Burdwan, and the University of North Bengal. There are also puntis preserved in the Silchar Normal School Library, Assam; Jahangirnagar University and the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; the British Museum and the School of Oriental and African Studies in the United Kingdom; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in France.
Timeline of Krittivasi Ramayan
The original Krittivasi Ramayan is dated to the first half of the 15th century. In the next four centuries, it underwent various changes at the hands of various puthi scribes. The current version of the epic was revised by Jaygopal Tarkalankar and was published in 1834. Later in the 20th century, various editions were published based on the Jaygopal Tarkalankar version.
Bengal in Krittivasi Ramayan
Krittivasi Ramayana is not only a translation, but contains picturesque descriptions of Bengali social life and its values.
Influence of Krittivasi Ramayan
The epic of Krittivas has had a profound impact on the literature of Bengal and the surrounding regions. Tulsidas—the 16th century Hindi Ramayana translator—was deeply moved by the theme of Bhakti, just as Krittivas was. The story of Rama as depicted by Krittivas Ojha inspired many latter-day poets, including Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Rabindranath Tagore.
- p.82. Paschimbanga, Gazette of the Information and Cultural Affairs Department, Government of West Bengal, Krittibas Memorial Issue, February 2006
Translation in English
- Ramayana, Shudha Mazumdar (translator), foreword by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Orient Longman, New Delhi 1958