Realizing the importance of Indian epics and its demand Bhuwan Arora and his team of IIT-Delhi re-created Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana on Doordarshan through a mobile app. That lead to the emergence of The Ramayana app — a virtual museum of the Indian epic, with 350+ short written and audio summarised stories, perspective polls, and quizzes in Hindi and English based on the Tulsidas, Kamban and the Valmiki Ramayana.
“Ramayana is the one epic that binds 1.35 billion Indians together. A culturally vibrant nation as ours boasts of an assortment of around 300 different versions of Ramayana. Such multiplicity of voices and of the accompanying practices lead to immense internal diversity. Ramayana and Mahabharata are together the two central Sanskrit scriptures from ancient Indian literature. These epics have golden lessons and the stories are interspersed with philosophy, ethics, and notes on duty,” says Arora.
Instead of a traditional narrative, the app allows the user to explore various sub-stories with the help of tags. “The stories in English and Hindi languages appeal to a large audience set; audio stories in both languages appeal to those who remain on-the-move. Perspective polls challenge the existing traditions and norms, and quizzes brush up the knowledge of the scholars of Ramayana,” says the founder.
“Unfortunately, a high proportion of ancient scriptures has been destroyed and lost forever. Yet, for the ones that survive, individuals face difficulty in approaching them or lack authentic sources to read them. Utilising the power of technology to build an engaging interface for users, we have the opportunity to create products that this generation can use. The synthesis and presentation of the epic in a short, user-friendly format in the form of an application and even artistic interpretation, cinematic presentation and various view-point and narratives that we are seeing now in literature is not exactly ‘commercialisation’. The beauty of Ramayana lies in the fact that with ever-increasing interpretations in literature, cinema, theatre and arts, the audience seems to retain the interest and wants to know more. This is due to the fact that our culture is steeped in the stories, morals and lessons from Ramayana,” he says.