Though the structure of the popular Ramayanas composed in Assamese, Bengali and Oriya is based on the version of Valmiki, the poets are eclectic in their choice of material and freely select episodes from the Puranas, Sanskrit devotional Ramayanas, Sakta works and the oral tradition, as long as these are not in direct conflict with Valmiki. Unlike vernacular Ramayanas in some other regions of India, here poets do not allow the narrative to be overwhelmed by theological or sectarian concerns. Many apocryphal episodes common to all three literatures do not seem to be found outside Eastern India.
About the Author:
Dr. W.L. Smith teaches in the Department of Indology, University of Stockholm, Stockholm.
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