Translating Rāma as a Proto-Muhammadan Prophet: Mullāh Masih’s Masnavi-ye Rām va Sitā

Translating Rāma as a Proto-Muhammadan Prophet: Mullāh Masih’s Masnavi-ye Rām va Sitā

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Venue: 
Fellow's Dining Room, Hilda Besse Building, St Antony's College
Speaker(s): 
Prashant Keshavmurthy (McGill University)
Chair: 
Faisal Devji
Convenor: 
Faisal Devji (Oxford)
Series: 
South Asia Seminar

This lecture aims to finesse understanding of pre-colonial Islamic-Persian literary translations of Indic language texts on Hindu themes by considering Mullāh Masih’s famous early seventeenth century Masnavi-ye Rām va Sitā, a Persian translation of Vālmiki’s (circa 2nd century BCE) Sanskrit epic Rāmāyana. It opens by remarking on a shift in the study of the relations between poetics and politics of Persian translations of Indic texts. Then, purporting to finesse understanding of this relation, it takes issue with prior studies of this poem before answering the following questions these studies fail to pose: how does the Ibn Arabi-derived prophetological metaphysics of the prefatory chapters relate to the poetics of emotion in the main body of his tale? And: what does this relation let us infer of Masih’s Sufi theology of translation?