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KANNADA

Women of the epics

V. GOPALAKRISHNA

PAVITRA PANCHAKANYEYARU-PARAMA PANCHA MITHYEGALU: Pradeep Bhattacharya in English; Mahabaleshwara Rao — Tr. in Kannada; Rashtrakavi Govida Pai Samshodhana Kendra, MGM College Campus, Kunjibetta, Udupi-576102. Rs. 48.

THIS MONOGRAPH critically discusses the noble qualities of five women of the Ramayana and Mahabharata fame. The author points out some variations in the text of a familiar stanza in which the names of Ahalya, Draupadi, Seetha, Tara and Mandodari are usually recited at the dawn everyday. In one of the texts available the name of Vali’s wife Tara is mentioned instead of Seetha, in addition to the name of Tara, wife of Brahaspati. A Bengali version of the text places Kunti in the place of Seetha. Apart from these deviations, the author highlights an important emendation in the second half of the same stanza based on some texts available in Bengal.

The compound word ‘Panchakanya’ which is very popular all over India is replaced with the word ‘Panchakanna’ in some Bengali texts which seems to be authentic according to the author. The latter version, with an appropriate meaning in the context holds good from the point of illustrations given by the author.

The author gives distinguishing sketches of these noble women in the light of the various episodes based on the myths mentioned in several popular editions of the epics. The translation is good.

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