A Miniature Sheet and Sheetlet consisting of 11 nos. of special postage stamp on the Ramayan, an ancient Indian Sanskrit epic written by Maharshi Valmiki :
Issued by India
Issued on Sep 22, 2017
Issued for : India Post is pleased to release a set of eleven stamps depicting significant instances from Ramayana.
Stamp/Miniature Sheet/Sheetlet/FDC/Brochure : Sh. Sankha Samanta
Cancellation Cachet : Smt. Alka Sharma
Type : Miniature Sheet, Sheetlet, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 1500 Paise (1), 500 Paise (10)
Miniature sheets printed : 3.0 lakh
Sheetlets printed : 7.0 lakh
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
- “Ram”, a chant, a magic word, the divine personified, the omnipresent who is there in every grain of sand, a noble king, a gentle prince, the blue deity who roamed across the country carrying the people of different cultures along. Ramayana, the story of Ram composed first by Valmiki around 500 b.c., has possibly many retellings before that as well as afterwards. Such is the power and the appeal of this simple story, but a story of a hero who suffers many adversities in life, which remains, to this date, unsurpassed. The story is loved by the millions not only in India, but now, practically all across the globe. Early migrants to Surinam, Fiji, Guiana, Mauritius etc. carried the story in their hearts that sustained them away from their beloved motherland. Many Asian countries such as Burma, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam have adopted and internalized the story giving them local flavours. Within the country also different cultural and ethnic groups have lovingly adopted this story, adapted to the local cultural frameworks, selectively highlighting certain events or characters in their narratives and thereby enriching the great Ramayana tradition. While Valmiki Ramayana is in Sanskrit and follows a simple narrative, there are other versions in different languages such as Aadhyatm Ramayana supposedly composed by Vyasa, Kamba Ramayana written by poet Kambar in 12th century in Tamil, Krittivasi Ramayana written by Krittibas Ojha in Bengali etc. But the most overwhelming popular has been the Ramcharitmanas written by Tulsidas in 15th Century in Awadhi. Tulsi Ramayana or Ramcharitmanas emphasizes the supreme human qualities, the power of devotion or bhakti and the importance of the popular social norms and proper conduct etc. The focus is more on how the righteous carries out his duties.
- The basic storyline, as narrated by Valmiki is the story of Ram, the prince of Ayodhya who practices the ideal code of conduct. The progressively nuanced story of Ramayana has many instances that reflect upon equanimity and mental equipoise depicting Ram as ‘Maryada Prushotam Ram’.
- Maharishi Vishwamitra takes Ram and Laxman as his disciples teaching them the intricacies of using various arms and weapons. One day they reach Mithila. The king, Janak, came to welcome them and he was spell-bound by the radiance of the two Ayodhya princes. They were shown the ‘Shiva-dhanush’ which was kept in an iron case. King Janak and his wife Sunaina had announced that they would marry their daughter Sita to anyone who could mount the arrow on the ‘Shiva-dhanush’. Ram did this effortlessly. King Janak’s happiness knew no bounds and he married his beautiful daughter, Sita to prince Ram.
- King Dashrath wished to declare Ram as the ‘Yuvraj’ or the ‘Crown prince’ of Ayodhya. But, Manthara, the maid of queen Kaekeyi, felt that king Dashrath had been partial in his decision and she poisoned the mind of her mistress. Kaikeyi came under her influence and demanded that, Bharat, her own son should be made the future king of Ayodhya. Her second wish was, the banishment of Ram from Ayodhya for fourteen years. King Dashrath was crest-fallen but, was unable to persuade Kaikeyi to change her mind. Ram was devoted to his father and left Ayodhya accompanied by his wife, Sita and his brother, Laxman.
- Ram, Sita and Laxman had found shelter in Chitrakut. Bharat soon reached Chitrakut and begged Ram to return to Ayodhya while also informing Ram about the sad demise of their father. Ram was firm on his decision not to return to Ayodhya before fourteen years. Bharat requested Ram to give his ‘wooden paduka’ which he would keep upon the throne for fourteen years.
- Kewat was the boat man who ferried people across the holy river Ganga. It was in his boat that Ram, Sita and Laxman crossed the river. Shabari was the disciple of sage Matang who lived near Pampa lake. She was old and sick and her only desire was to meet Ram before dying. She was overwhelmed to see Ram in her hut and out of sheer love, she fed him sweet berries after tasting them.
- Later, due to unfortunate turns of events, Sita was taken forcefully by Ravana, the king of Lanka. The valiant bird ‘Jatayu’ answered to her screams by attacking Ravana’s chariot but Ravana cut off his wings. Wounded, he fell to the ground and struggled to keep alive. He died after informing Ram about the catastrophe.
- Hanuman was sent to search for Sita in Lanka. He took a leap towards the sky and flew towards Lanka. He saw her in Ashok Vatika and appeared before her cautiously and carefully introducing himself. He showed a ring of Ram to gain her trust. Sita was overwhelmed and had tears of joys in her eyes.
- After conquering Lanka, Ram entered to Ayodhya and ruled over for a long time. During ‘Ram Rajya’, Ayodhya became very prosperous. There was no sorrow. People were healthy and happy. Ram was an able king who believed in justice and equality. In the “Uttar Kand” of Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas and in Bhasa’s Uttar Ramcharit the story further progresses depicting Sita’s life in the jungle in the ashram of the sage Valmiki.
- Ramayana is a story of Maryada Purushottam Ram, upholder of righteous values of Dharma. This is a story of an ideal king, a noble ruler, a protector of social values and above all of a brave and gentle person. The story has been told and retold in different times and different places. The inspiring, empowering and enchanting story will enthral millions for all times.
- Text : Based on the material available on internet.