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Bridging Cultures: IAS Ministhy S’s ‘Epic’ Journey Translating ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ into English

Ministhy S, an IAS officer, translates Shri Ramcharitmanas into English, bridging cultures and making Hindu epics accessible worldwide.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Many enthusiasts of Hindu religious literature, particularly timeless epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, often face a significant hurdle due to their lack of familiarity with the original languages. While Mahabharata is originally in Sanskrit, Ramayana is also in Sanskrit, later adapted by Tulsidas ji into Awadhi as ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas.’ Offering a ray of hope to these seekers is Ministhy S, a 2003 cadre IAS officer, who has undertaken the task of translating ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ into English. Her translation serves as a vital bridge across linguistic barriers, enabling a broader audience to explore the profound teachings and narratives embedded within these revered texts.

She has not only translated the Chaupai (verses) written in the Awadhi language in Ramcharitmanas into English but has also provided the English meaning of each Chaupai. It is a beautiful interpretation of the original Ramayana in words. Her translations have garnered widespread acclaim, with growing demand for her books.

THE ENGLISH RAMAYANA

Ministhy S, currently serving as Uttar Pradesh State Tax Commissioner, has embarked on the ambitious task of translating the seven chapters, or ‘kands,’ of ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas,’ completing four to date. These include Sundar Kand, Lanka Kand, Aranya Kand, and Kishkindha Kand. Notably, she followed a sequence inspired by divine guidance rather than the traditional order of the Ramayana.

Her translation journey began with Sundar Kand in 2016, a feat accomplished in just 50 days. By 2017, the translated book was published during her tenure as District Collector in Ghaziabad. In 2019, she delved into Kishkindha Kand, depicting the legendary clash between Lord Rama and Ravana. Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, she translated Aranya Kand, published in 2022, and recently completed and published Lanka Kand.

Currently, Ms. Ministhy is dedicatedly working on Bal Kand, opting to divide its extensive content into two parts for meticulousness and accuracy.

While speaking with Indian Masterminds, she explains, “I’ve translated around 50 to 60 pages, but Lord Rama’s birth hasn’t occurred yet in the narrative. Therefore, I’ve decided to release the translation in two parts.”

IAS Ministhy S

INSPIRATION

Her inspiration for translating ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ into English came from her mother, who was deeply religious and wished to read the epic but couldn’t due to its Awadhi language. This sparked Ministhy’s determination to make the epic accessible, prompting her to begin the translation project.

She said, “My inspiration stemmed from seeing my mother’s deep familiarity with Adhyatma Ramayana contrasted with her struggle to grasp the Awadhi language of ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas.’ Witnessing her difficulty sparked a realization within me – I felt compelled to undertake this task.”

DEVOTION

Although Ministhy’s mother tongue is Malayalam and she hails from Kerala, ‘Adhyatma Ramayana’ holds significant importance in Kerala culture. From a young age, Ministhy immersed herself in reading Adhyatma Ramayana and often sought explanations from her mother. Later, as part of her literary studies, she delved into ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas,’ which was also part of her curriculum. She views this epic as a pinnacle of poetic mastery across languages.

Recognizing her mother’s difficulty and realizing that many others might be facing similar challenges, Ministhy embarked on the translation project to ensure that this revered text could reach and be understood by a wider audience.

Her devotion to Lord Bajrangbali, also known as Lord Hanuman, led her to begin the translation with Sundar Kand, highlighting her deep spiritual connection.

This comprehensive approach aims to make the profound teachings and narratives of ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ accessible to a wider audience, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of its spiritual essence.

BREAKING LINGUISTIC BARRIER

Now, Ministhy aims to promote ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ not only nationally but also internationally. She believes that English, being one of the most widely spoken languages globally, can facilitate the epic’s reach across borders. Her vision is to share the profound teachings and cultural richness of ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ with people worldwide, transcending linguistic barriers and fostering a deeper understanding of Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

English has become a universally understood language, reaching nearly every corner of the globe. With ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ translated into English, it opens the door for its understanding across various cultures and languages. Whether in Marathi, Assamese, or any other language, people can now access and comprehend the teachings of ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas’ through its English translation.

This endeavor holds immense value for the younger generation, who may find the Awadhi language, a dialect of Hindi, challenging to grasp. By reading it in English, they can easily connect with the profound wisdom and stories encapsulated in ‘Shri Ramcharitmanas.’ Moreover, since Awadhi is part of the larger Hindi-language family due to their cultural proximity.

Interested readers can find her works available for purchase online, including platforms like Amazon.

Link: Spiritual Combo Book of Sundar Kanda, Kishkindha Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Lanka Kanda Interpretation Book Devotional & Religious Prayer Book- Combo of 4 Paperback – 1 January 2023


Indian Masterminds Stories

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