Myths and Women in Modern India

Public guest lecture Dr Arshia Sattar, renowned Indologist, translator, facilitator, author, and director.

Introducory talk on configurations of religious traditions within Hinduism by Elmar Renner, Teaching Assistant Professor (studieadjunkt) at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (University of Copenhagen).

How to understand Sita read from Valmiki’s Ramayana today

There are many versions of the story of Prince Rama and his beloved Sita throughout South Asia, but Valmiki’s Sanskrit text forms a core due to its age and dissemination. During the epic Rama losses Sita to the demon Ravana, whom he kills in order to win her back, before he returns to his kingdom to rule as the just king. Read through the eyes of a modern feminist reader, female demons and ascetics, just kings and unjust demons offer a much richer picture than the traditional understanding of Sita as the loyal wife. How is one to understand Rama’s cruelty towards Sita and what it means for him to be king, perhaps even against his innermost wishes?

About Arshia Sattar

Arshia Sattar's academic and literary work addresses Indian epics and how they relate to contemporary culture. She translated the Tales from the Kathāsaritsāgara (Penguin Books 1994) and The Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki (Viking 1996). A series of critical essays deal with the notion of ”women” in India. She contributed to the The Economic History of India with The Mouse Merchant. Money in Ancient India (Story of Indian Business, Penguin 2013). She also directs and organizes festivals (Rangashankara Theatre Festival, Bengaluru 2005, Lekhana Literature Festival, Bengaluru)

Arshia Sattar holds a PhD from the University of Chicago and presently teaches at Mahindra United World College of India in Pune.


Please help us to plan the arrangement by registering to

Modest refreshments will be served.

For more information please contact Peter Andersen or Elmar Renner.