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The Cries of Women - Seekers, Protagonists and Goddesses in Sacred Indian Poetry


Jun 13 2024 to Jun 13 2024 6:30 p.m.


Bangalore International Centre

7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

Wild Women: Seekers, Protagonists and Goddesses in Sacred Indian Poetry [Penguin India, 2024], edited by poet and seeker Arundhathi Subramaniam, is a new anthology of compelling women mystics in Indian literature. These poems are the cries of women who refused, quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, to be bullied into submission. Women who surrendered not to the authority of the world, but to the authority of the spirit. Women whose voices have far too often been sanitized by the grand narratives of religion and sidelined by rationalist versions of history. The names of Mirabai, Akka Mahadevi, and Andal, are known to many. But there are innumerable others. And little is known of the urgency of their words, of their feral sensuality, of their relentless questioning of the custodians of gender and faith. It is time to re-fang them, to tune into their brazenness and heartbreaking longing. Not just for their sake, but for ours.

This conversation with Arundhathi Subramaniam, interspersed by readings of translations by Mani Rao, Vanamala Viswanatha and Ahalya Ballal, will explore some fascinating and unforgettable women.


Arundhathi Subramaniam Poet, Editor & Curator

Arundhathi Subramaniam is the author of fourteen books of poetry and prose. Her prose work has centred around sacred traditions, and includes the Penguin anthology of Bhakti poetry, Eating God, the bestselling biography of a contemporary mystic, Sadhguru: More Than a Life, and a recent prose work on contemporary women on spiritual journeys, Women Who Wear Only Themselves. She is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award 2020 for poetry, among various other awards, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry 2015.

Vanamala Viswanatha Academic & Translator

Dr Vanamala Viswanatha has taught English studies for decades and translated Kannada writers such as Sara Aboobacker, Lankesh, Vaidehi and Ananthamurthy. Ahalya Ballal Writer Ahalya Ballal is curious about words and includes theatre and classical dance as her passions, both as practitioner and viewer.

Mani Rao Poet & Translator

Dr. Mani Rao is the author of fifteen books in poetry and translation including New & Selected Poems, Bhagavad Gita: God’s Song, Saundarya Lahari: Wave of Beauty, Kalidasa, and an academic book, Living Mantra: Mantra, Deity and Visionary Experience Today. See www.manirao.com.

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