Motihari (Bihar), Jun 24 (PTI) At a time when people across the country were getting hooked to repeat telecasts of 'Ramayan', in a bid to beat lockdown blues, a banker in Bihar took it upon himself to make the epic's text accessible to modern readers.
Running across 300 pages, 'Saral Ramayana' may soon be in the hands of many colleagues of Neeraj Kumar Sinha besides citizens of Motihari with whom he may choose to share self- published copies of his labour of love.
'I have always been fascinated by the Ramayana which epitomises all the values cherished by the ancient Indian civilisation. I have been equally dismayed over the lack of awareness about the same among the new generation.
'Saral Ramayana is just a humble attempt to make a difference', Sinha who is currently posted here as the district coordinator for Punjab National Bank said.
The banker, who hails from Chhapra in Saran district, disclosed that he has been into writing poetry and short stories which keep getting published in Hindi literary journals but working on the Ramayana had always been on the back of his mind.
'The daily grind often does not leave us with much time and energy to pursue our passion. When the lockdown came, I saw an opportunity and finished it off in the 70 days for which restrictions remained in place,' he said.
Sinha made it clear that his work was in no way aimed at making any fresh interpretation of the epic but 'simply the Valmiki Ramayana and the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas presented in a condensed form, in a language that contemporary readers could identify with'.
'From the Baal Kaand dealing with the backdrop against which Lord Rama was born as the eldest child of Ayodhya's king Dashratha, to his own coronation upon return from Lanka where he slew the demon Ravana and rescued Sita, my version presents the stories in a way that seeks to inspire people to imbibe the lessons therein of good conduct and fairness in relationships,' he said.
Since monetisation was not the intent behind the endeavour, Sinha chose to get it published himself.
'Order has been placed for one thousand copies. These will be distributed among fellow bankers and citizens free of cost,' he said.
The effort has already become known, by word of mouth, to residents of East Champaran district, of which Motihari is the headquarters.
Local academician Ram Niranjan Pandey, a scholar of Ramcharitmanas, reminded of Acharya Vinoba Bhave's 'Gita Pravachan'.
'While serving prison terms for taking part in the freedom struggle, Vinoba Bhave used to deliver talks on Bhagavad Gita which were later published in book form. Sinha has made a similar attempt to achieve spiritual uplift by educating the public in the midst of severe restrictions,' he said.
Pandey is also associated with 'Manas Satsang Samiti' here, which conducts public renditions of the epic's Goswami Tulsidas version.
Vimal Kumar Parimal, a Motihari-based Hindi litterateur with deep interest in Ramcharitmans, said the Ramayana, like all scriptures, is bound to benefit whoever studies it.
By encouraging the people of his times to do so, Sinha has done a yeoman's job, he said.
Rameshwar Rajak, who heads the operations of Central Bank of India in the district, said, 'It is a matter of pride for all bankers that we have amongst us a gem like Neeraj Kumar Sinha who has done something beneficial for humanity going beyond the scope of the profession. We are all eagerly awaiting for copies of Saral Ramayana.' PTI CORR NAC BDC BDC