In classical India we find the Job-like figure of Valin, King of the Monkeys, killed without reason and from an ambush by Rama, who is God. Valin’s heartbroken, uncomprehending protest became a major theme in the medieval literature of South India. I will present one version from the Tamil Ramayana of Kampan and a short DVD segment showing Valin’s death in the classical Kudiyattam theater of Kerala.
David Shulman is Professor of Indian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he has been teaching since 1977, after obtaining a Ph.D. in Tamil Literature from the University of London. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago. He is an elected member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and from 1992 to 1998 directed the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem. He is now director of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities. He has been a Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow, among many other distinctions, and was awarded the Emet Prize. He has published over thirty books as author or editor, including works on numerous aspects of Indian culture and comparative studies in culture and religion. David Shulman is also a peace activist and a member of a joint Israeli-Palestinian grassroots movement for non-violence called Ta’ayush. His book on the Israeli peace movement, Dark Hope, has been published in several languages.