ACK Valmiki's Ramayana - in 6 volumes

Amar Chitra Katha has brought out a 6 volume boxed set of the Ramayana. They are packaged in a not-so-sturdy blue box with gold text and a bow and arrow. Each of the volumes covers one Kanda (book), with the 6th one including Uttara Kanda along with the Yuddha Kanda.

The individual books are hard-bound, with glossy printed pages. If you have grown up with ACK, as I have, you won't find the art familiar. It's more "modern", if that's the right word. Each book is by a different artist, with some by the same ones, and that too shows, but not so much as to break the flow. In my opinion, Book 1's art is the weakest in the collection, as far as detail is concerned. The script for all volumes is by Harini Gopalswami Srinivasan.

There are a couple of sections in each book where an attempt is made to explain concepts and add background detail to socio-political and mythological aspects encountered in the nearby pages. These are nice additions, and it would have been nicer if there were pointers to other books where interested readers could read more in greater detail.

Occasional footnotes explain events in the context of the social setting at that time - e.g. "In those days, a woman could not rule the kingdom", when Dasaratha pines for a son. These foot notes also explain unfamiliar concepts or links to other characters.

A few nitpicks
- The number of kilometers in a Yojana is defined as 10, then 6, and then 10 again in 3 different places.
- In the glossary of Book 2, Kolkata is included in the list of words explained, among other Ramayana terms like Kinnara and Rakshasa. A mistake? A strange one.

Overall, it's a nice addition to ACK's library.


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