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Tales of Transformation: Comparing the Metamorphosis of Ancient Indian and Greek Epic Heroes

  • Cultural Integration Fellowship 2650 Fulton Street San Francisco, CA, 94118 United States (map)

A Talk by SOAS Vice President Bharti Kansara (PhD - Political Studies)

Greek and Indian civilizations interacted through Indus Valley trade, Alexander’s conquests and the spread of Hellenism to India with its concept of the cosmopolis. This talk will depict, through analysing dramatic verse, mantra and bardic singing, and visual representation, the forces shaping the struggles of Indian epic heroes Sahastra Arjuna, Parshurama and Alarka of the classic compendium, the Dutta Mahatmya, compared with the forces shaping the great Homeric heroes Hector, Achilles and Odysseus. These forces include the role of destiny (daiva), karma and individual suffering and responsibility, showing the interplay between spiritual and humanistic thinking in shaping the hero’s moral consciousness, and how male and female energies contribute to cathartic resolution as seen in the story of Renuka.

Dr. Kansara is Author and Educator at, which seeks to empower High School students in the study of the Humanities, so they can rise to their full potential through the use of interactive content and methods. Her past experience includes being an editor in academic publishing at the Open University in England, one of the first educational institutions to pioneer long-distance teaching through interactive media; member of the BBC’s General Advisory Council; co-director of the Academy of Indian Dance, sponsored by the Greater London Council. Dr. Kansara is also Vice President of American Friends of SOAS (SOAS, University of London). She also writes a blog at She holds a BA (Cantab) and PhD (SOAS, University of London).

For more information you can contact 415.668.1559 or email You can also visit

Later Event: December 6
NYC Alumni Mixer