The Ramayana and Mahabharata battles aren’t purely about good versus evil

Romila Thapar is one of India’s foremost historians. In the following book excerpt, the professor emerita at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University is in conversation with Neeladri Bhattacharya and Ramin Jahanbegloo, enunciating the ideas of exile, retaliation, forgiveness, and remorse in Indian epics.

Neeladri Bhattacharya: Stories of exile are there not only in the epics. Ramanujan shows how stories of exile play an important functional role within folk tales. In many folk tales the...

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