This article gives insight into why verses from the "Radheshyam Ramayan," an early-twentieth century epic poem in Hindi–Urdu by Pandit Radheshyam Kathavachak, have been so widely adapted in India's theatre of Ramlila. Through a close reading of Kathavachak's chapter/scene "Dhanuṣ-yajña" (The Bow Ritual), and its staging at one amateur Ramlila in the author's hometown of Bareilly, this article argues that the text's bold, charming dialogues are very much suited to the themes and dramatic styling of Ramlila. Kathavachak's vigorous battles of wits between rivals are used to great effect not only in actual battle scenes, but also in rousing scenes like "The Bow Ritual" where Lakshman engages in fierce repartee with Parashuram after Ram's breaking of the bow. This article also brings together contemporary understandings of the critical terms ras (also spelled "rasa") and affect to help explicate this style of theatre.


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pp. 1-27
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