Reading the Ramayana by moonlight | A conversation

Imran Ali Khan with Arshia Sattar

Join us on Mondayfix when Imran Ali Khan talks to Arshia Sattar about the Ramayana, her translation of the Valmiki text first published in the 1990s and the complexities of reading this story in the 21st century. Arshia will speak about the process of translating a text that has come to mean different things at different times, unpack the existential crisis that follows the characters in decisions between right and wrong.

Arshia Sattar is a translator, author and director. Sattar obtained her PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1990. Arshia’s translations of the Kathasaritsagara was published by Penguin in 1996. Arshia’s engagement with the Ramayana goes back three decades when, after her PhD, she translated Valmiki’s Ramayana. Arshia’s work with the Ramayana has resulted in countless essays, articles, three children’s books and the wonderful collection of essays entitled, Lost Loves: Exploring Rama’s Anguish (published by Penguin). Arshia writes regularly for the Open Magazine and Mint Lounge. Arshia teaches classical Indian Literatures in India and abroad, and is currently a freelance writer and researcher.

Imran Ali Khan is a writer and researcher and sometimes he makes images too. He uses stories as maps to find his way. Imran’s last project, entitled Kiski Kahani: The Ramayana Project, looked at ways in which the Ramayana, in its many diverse retellings and forms, could be archived and documented. Imran then went on to work closely with Ramayana performances in India, specifically at the foothills of the Himalayas in the Kullu Valley. In 2018 Imran was a fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany where he worked on his research and created a large scale installation entitled, In the Valley of Memory. Imran continues to finds his way in the world through the many tellings of the Ramayana.

Zoom Meeting link

Meeting ID: 856 3856 1326

Host @Hisarwalla Design @palebluedotgoa
solidarity @ecoposro + @ediblearchives

Please contribute to keep this non partisan independent platform sharp – to listen, analyse and be polite. And to encourage critical thinking.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



  1. Erika Faith

    “we exist in a constellation of dharmic possibilities, really that have to be in conflict with each other” (33:44) . . . “it is impossible to be good all of the time, to do the right thing to everybody” (34:00). Every time I watch an interview with Arshia Sattar, I come away feeling inspired, uplifted, intellectually challenged and somehow comforted with the love that she holds for story, critical inquiry, rigorous honesty and real conversation. I have been watching all the utube videos in which she is featured (even as a moderator), and I have been leaving my unapologetically enthusiastic comments at each site. I am so grateful to have found Arshia, and especially for this opportunity to hear from her so recently! Thank you to the beautiful, thoughtful, feminist men who are so whole within themselves that they can ‘sit at the feet’ of such a learned teacher. Thank you for making this video possible for all of us to see. I hope you upload it onto utube (picked up more easily by search engines). Even though there are some technical glitches, I think there are others who would be interested in taking this lovely lecture in! ~ it’s midnight here in Saskatoon, and the same moon is watching over us all….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nilankur

      Thank you Erika, here is the youtube link https://youtu.be/Ar1m0_10tH4


  2. reggiegoveas

    Thank you, Erica, for your kind words. Arshia Sattar has so blown our minds that we are in the process of confirming two more sessions of ‘Reading The Ramayana By Moonlight’ in Nov – Dec. Please be sure to follow us and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more. Take care and best wishes from Goa.


%d bloggers like this: