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stone carving of a scene from the Ramayana

A scene from the Ramayana

This is a play, with parts for many children.

The Ramayana is an old Indian story, and in India it has been acted as a play for about 2000 years.

Your class could also produce a play of the Ramayana. This is the story. The class (or camp team) could write a script, or just improvise lines. There’s plenty of opportunity too to paint scenery or have fancy monkey costumes if you want.

Some points for discussion:

The Ramayana can be seen as a metaphor for the North Indians¬† trying to invade the people of southern India. It’s a North Indian story, and it shows the North Indians as the good guys and the South Indians as the bad guys. How should we feel about this? In South India, some people tell this story with the good guys and the bad guys reversed. How would that change the story?

Or, you might discuss why people would be interested in seeing the same play over and over for 2000 years. Is that true of any story Europeans tell? (It is true of the Iliad, and of the story of Jesus, and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms). What makes a story last?
Do these stories have anything in common?

As a geography lesson, you might show the kids where North India is, and where Sri Lanka is, on a map. How far apart are they in miles? Kilometers? How long would it take the people in the story to travel there? How would they travel, without cars?

Other activities:

* Cotton, wool, hemp and silk
A day in ancient India

Bibliography and further reading about the Ramayana:

More about the Ramayana
More about Ancient India home