One of India's greatest epics, the "Ramayana" pervades the country's moral and cultural consciousness. Believed to have been composed by Valmiki sometime between the eighth and sixth centuries BC, the "Ramayana" tells the tragic and magical story of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, an incarnation of Lord Visnu, born to rid the earth of the terrible demon Ravana. An idealized heroic tale, the "Ramayana" is also an intensely personal story of family relationships, love and loss, duty and honour, of harem intrigue, petty jealousies and destructive ambitions - all this played out in a universe populated by larger-than-life humans, gods, wondrous animals and terrifying demons.
Arshia Sattar has a PhD from the department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations in the University of Chicago. Her areas of interest are Indian epics, mythology and the story traditions of the subcontinent. Her translation of Tales from the Kathasaritasagara was published as a Penguin Classic.