Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Rama for Beginners:  Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Jeremy Stoll
Indiana University


In the boom of recent comics scholarship, the comic art of India has received little attention compared to that of other nations, the United States, France, and Japan in particular. Through a basis in religious and folk narratives, Indian comics narratives, especially those published by the Amar Chitra Katha series, have worked to update folk tales, retelling them in a modern medium. By looking at the figure of Rama in the Amar Chitra Katha and other Indian comics, this paper will analyze the process and implications of this transformation. In particular, the analysis of Rama as contemporary hero will reveal how these stories help people to deal with daily life at the same time that they affirm another, older way of understanding the world. This paper will thus demonstrate how comics creators in India have adapted the comic book to effectively re-maneuver traditional tales as a modern, folkloric inheritance to future generations.     Continue reading “Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures”


So, What Is the Story Behind This Name?: Royal Praise-Poetry As an Oral Mythic Narrative

So, What Is the Story Behind This Name?: Royal Praise-Poetry As an Oral Mythic Narrative

Abdulai Salifu
Indiana University

The Dagomba praise singing genre of northern Ghana employs figurative language to recapture historical events in the political life of the people. A reigning chief occupies a central, pivotal position in the daily life of the community and is seen as a reincarnation of his ancestors, whose exploits are used to praise him or her. Royal praises rely on stories which depict supernatural ancestral achievements. This piece looks at the metaphors and mythical elements to be found in the language used to praise a chief during a social event in Tamale, Ghana, and focuses on the mythical elements in the praise song, based on real historical events. This happens in the context of a revered epic tradition at a Dagomba King’s palace.

The praise names drummers sing or use to address their patrons at ceremonies are abridged historical mythic narratives, taken from the myths and legends of the Dagbamba (also called Dagombas) of Northern Ghana. The narration assumes mythical dimensions and religious beliefs and practices are woven into the telling of the tale.

Continue reading “So, What Is the Story Behind This Name?: Royal Praise-Poetry As an Oral Mythic Narrative”