-Santosh Kumar






Fables are an important and very popular genre in ancient Indian literature. But like any other literature of ancient India, even these fables don’t exist exclusively but rather are interspersed within a broader theme. Fables are most of times not the end but rather the means to the end. Not just rhythm, not just rasa, not just emotions; it also produce images. It also produces values. the texts in consideration in our paper-Pancatantra, Jātaka stories & in the portions of Śānti Parva in Mahābhārata etc. are not collections of fables per say but rather serves a greater purpose. We need to deconstruct not just the text but also the purpose for which it was used. Different scholars have differently interpreted the sources but there are still some problems associated with reading of sources that we first need to consider. It is important to also study how to read a text (a detail discussion is beyond purview of this paper). Our interpretation of a period, a society, a culture is directed by our particularistic understanding and interpretation of the text. Many a times, scholars cherry pick references in favor or against our arguments. Thus our understanding of the past gets colored by our perceptions of the present. We then overlook the underlying structure, the context, and the collective psyche of the society that produces and consumes such work. Also, most of the ancient texts are not work of a particular time. Composition of such works stretch to many centuries, especially in the case of fables, stories exist in oral form long time before they are finally written down. While reading ancient Indian texts we often assume the text as a unitary, homogenous and static text. Thus we overlook the influences exerted by other texts on the text in consideration and conversely, the influences exerted by the source text on later text. In fact a text is never a dead past, text is re-edited, interpolated, reiterated, debated through the centuries. Even in modern times, even though the exact rendering of the text, its social context is lost, the structure and discourse continue to reiterate the text. Through pedagogy, through oral telling, a text continues to exist as a structure, discourse. Julia Kristeva coined the term “inter textuality” to denote text that are not self contained or autonomous but produced from other texts[1]. The idea of text as a “movement of a discourse” was further developed by scholars like Roland Barthes[2]. Dhananjay singh points out that in the context of Indian fables, oral transmission made possible the inter textuality of these sources. Thus, we find a single narrative found in Jātakas may also be found in Pancatantra and Mahābhārata[3]. According to Tania Mehta, India has an organic history of more than two thousand years, which has been punctured and intervened and mediated by other histories too. Thus it is highly improbable for their narratives to be linear and monotonous[4].


In terms of gender studies to which we are primarily concerned with, these texts manifest different ideas for different scholars and we need to consider the earlier works undertaken by scholars in this regard. We can actually have two types of historiography-one specific to the texts in consideration and another gender in general, the understanding of which can aid us in understanding the text even better. Kumkum Roy has done a lot of work on Jātakas from the perspective of gender. She points out that Jātaka included popular stories that were reworked according to Buddhist traditions as a medium for interacting with lay and religious communities[5]. Thus the adulterous woman was prominent in the Jātakas as a warning to men and women.  Slightly less than half of the stories of Jātakas deal directly or indirectly, with the relationship between men and women[6].  The women in these stories range from slave women, queens, Brahmana wives, young as well as old women etc. Kumkum Roy identifies various stories in the Jātakas which talk about different kinds of women and anxieties associated with these women particularly the sexual anxieties.

Vijay Nath compares and contrasts the attitude towards women and their customary and property rights in Dharmaśāstras and Pāli literature. According to her, traditional brahmanical sources recognize the right of a man over a woman, most probably his wife as characteristic of a patriarchal society in order to reinforce male authority. This recognition of husband’s proprietary rights over his wife is borne out by the assumption underlying the status of the kşetraja son which regards wife as her husband’s property the fruit of the seed sown in the kşetra, the fruit belong to the owner of the land (the husband)[7]. Conversely, in Buddhist sources, according to her, even though we find evidence of husband’s proprietary rights over wife (for e.g. in Vessantara Jātaka, the king gifts his wife, among other things to Brahmins), the norm pertains only in the ruling strata, where patriarchal norms continued to be strong[8].  A second distinction she points out between the Dharmaśāstras and Pāli texts is the comparative freedom to women in Jātaka to engage in varied occupations, which is not reflected in brahmanical texts. She explains this difference to the different social milieus these texts represent. According to her, while the Dharmaśāstras were more relevant for the agricultural dominated rural milieu, whereas Pali literature focused on the commerce oriented urban milieu where the scope for individual agency, enterprise and accumulation of wealth was comparatively greater[9].

The only shortcoming in her analysis, it seems, is her over-reliance on economic causation, which predominates her analysis of all aspects of ancient India. But other scholars have compensated this by studying these texts in a wider socio-cultural context. According to Uma Chakravarti, several Jātaka tales project prejudices against women, particularly upper class women are depicted as fickle, untrustworthy and adulterous in these stories. She tries to explain the difference between the brahmanical culture and the Jātakas lies in their prohibition and representation of the transgression. While in the brahmanical texts, transgression is seen as a possibility, in the Jātakas transgression is actually practiced by women. We also find an intermingling of values of high culture and more popular beliefs about the ‘essential nature’ of women[10]. According to ananda k. coomarswamy, Jataka narratives about women articulate the monastic prejudice against women[11]. Their presence is perceived as a threat to the Bhikku seeking salvation. She points out to the possibility that the monks may have been involved in the production or rather restricting of Jātaka tales for Buddhist religious sphere[12].

According to Jasbir Jain, katha as a genre served the purpose of Buddhist and Jain preachers. One of the oldest is the category of Jataka tales, several of which are also traceable in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. There are different approaches, according to her, through which these tales impart wisdom[13]. She also points out most of these stories have a set framework in which most of these narratives, kathas and fables are placed. Many of them begin with the kind of introductory phrase, which immediately locates the narrative in the remote past, and raises it to the level of the rich, the royal and the powerful and simultaneously, by stressing the didactic element, it connects it with the common man’s experience[14].

Nayana Sharma mukherjee points out the contradiction between the practice and expectation associated with intoxication of women. She points out that while drinking was not unusual for women and we find reference in Kumbha Jātaka that 500 women joined a drinking festival. But at the same time, we also find that the narrative describes the ‘inappropriateness’ of their conduct in the presence of Buddha, who strongly revoked this custom. Here, we get a candid admission of the fact that drinking was a common practice in India but it was proscribed for various classes which included apart from women, Brahmans, hermits etc.


Talking in the context of Pancatantra, A.K. Ramanujan compares and contrasts the male centered symbolisms used in Pancatantra with the symbols used in female centered tales. The great Indian epics-the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyana-as well as the great collections of stories-the Buddhist Jātakas, the Pancatantra (fifth century) were originally oral traditions. According to him, these texts have a parallel existence in the arena of folk tales where many versions have feminist understanding of the text not found in Sanskrit telling[15]. Also, he points out that while Pancatantra uses animal symbols to teach kingship, Pancatantra becomes a male centric political treatise, on the other hand the women tale makes use of the same symbols in very different and contradictory meanings. The use of snake, tiger etc as a pedagogical device and as a narrative tool for women’s tale may have very different connotations[16].

Sanskrit scholar Acharya Dipankara in the introduction of Hindi translation of Pancatantra points out that Pancatantra was written with an urge to maintain the traditional position of women, as there was growing anxiety with women coming out of their traditional fold and getting afflicted with ‘vices’ like prostitution, intoxication etc. he compares and contrasts the declining status of women between the time of Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra and Pancatantra. He points out the role of superstitions in fuelling sexual urges among women which stories of Pancatantra try to portray, like in the story of “weaver in the disguise of Vishnu”[17]

Sucheta shinde has done a critical analysis of gender reflected in Pancatantra. The fables of Pancatantra according to her, was not written for children but its stories are widely translated and read to the children all over the world. Pancatantra is known as ‘Nītiśāstras’, that is, it means ‘a book of wise conduct in life’. The conversations between these animals make unnecessary comments on women. Also, no conversation ever takes place among female characters to demonstrate their knowledge. Only male characters are made to converse about all the wisdom and lessons of morality[18]. According to her, the world of Pancatantra is predominantly a male domain. The Pancatantra is a book by and for men, especially men of the court. It was written to instruct the future kings about the governance as well as duties and challenges of the kings. Kings are compared to women in their capriciousness which they need to ward off to become efficient in their role. In an article ‘A Critical Interpretation of Pancatantra’ Prof. Anuradha Sharma criticizes how the stories of Pancatantra socialize women to dance to the tune of male dictate[19].

Here I would like to introduce some scholars, who though haven’t worked on these sources per say but whose understanding of gender is very pertinent for us in understanding our sources in a better perspective and help us to analyze them better. First of all, Michel Foucault gives a very pragmatic yet insightful understanding of the norms of sexuality and the psyche that underlies these practices. According to him, Sexuality was carefully confined to the home. The conjugal family absorbed sexuality as a function of reproduction. , silence became the rule, on the subject of sex. The couple imposed itself as model, enforced the norm, safeguarded the truth, and reserved the right to speak while retaining the principle of secrecy. Bedroom was understood as the single locus of sexuality and it was acknowledged in social space as well as at the heart of every household. Repression of sexuality operated as a sentence to disappear, but also as an injunction to silence, an affirmation of nonexistence, and, by implication, an admission that there was nothing to say about such things, nothing to see, and nothing to know. To make place for these illegitimate sexualities, alternative avenues were opened like brothels[20]. Foucault’s understanding, though focused on 17th century Europe, can act as a model for understanding the dichotomy between repression of sexuality of women on one side and the complexities of “illegitimate” or “unbridled” sexualities whose existence cannot be discarded altogether.

Nivedita menon discusses how social norms are imposed and naturalized in a society. She compares it with the idea of ‘nude make up’. Nude make up is a way of applying makeup which gives an illusion that no makeup has been applied on the face. That is, it creates illusion of ‘naturalness’. Similarly, maintaining of social order is like that. According to her, it requires the faithful performance of prescribed rituals over and over again throughout one’s lifetime. Complex networks of cultural reproduction are dedicated to this sole purpose. But the ultimate goal of all this unceasing activity is to produce the effect of untouched naturalness[21]. This explains very well, why a structure a norm, a culture that is detrimental to a section of society become sanctified, naturalized and thus justified through the continuous reiteration of the norms. The texts in question are meant for the same purpose through pedagogy and religious teachings simultaneously for Pancatantra and Jātaka.

Lastly, it is imperative to mention Gerda Lerner because she provides a very important breakthrough point for our analysis. She points out that women have always been active agents and more or less equal actors in the affairs of history and in preserving the collective memory of the society in the oral tradition, but in the process of history writing women agency was neglected and subordinated to that of men. What women have done and experienced has been left unrecorded, neglected, and ignored in interpretation. Historical scholarship, up to the most recent past, has seen women as marginal to the making of civilization and as unessential to those pursuits defined as having historic significance. Thus Women’s History, according to her, is indispensable and essential to the emancipation of women[22]. This helps us in explaining two crucial points in our analysis- firstly, how the process of writing the text is related to the attitude the text reflect towards women, and secondly, how to read the silences, anxieties, absence and negative agency in these text to create an alternative version of women’s agency in ancient India, contrary to what is projected in the texts.

Having done a brief survey of scholars who have done work on Pancatantra and Jātakas, particularly in the realm of gender, we can see that beneath the layer of what appears to be harmless moral fables lies a deep patriarchal structure which through symbols, myths, analogies, pedagogy etc tries to incorporate, assimilate, justify and generalize gender stereotypes and misogyny. Now let’s move on to analyze some important portions of these texts to see how the structure was being implemented through the medium of fables.




Patriarchy exists all around us in different forms. We often define patriarchy as a structure of oppression mostly targeted against women, but actually patriarchy is a structure under which all of us, irrespective of our gender identity (which anyways is a social construct) are oppressed. In this structure, we are the oppressor and we are the oppressed as well. But patriarchy is not a tangible entity whose presence can always be seen or felt. Many a times, patriarchy exists in so many different forms that we don’t even realize the inherent patriarchy in it. And that situation is even more dangerous because it makes us a participant in our own oppression. Our everyday actions, our ideas, perceptions, festivals and rituals etc all reflect this structure. Here mythology, folk tales, anecdotes, allegories etc plays a very important role. These stories through metaphors and symbolic meaning not only convey stories but also moral statements. They are carriers of moral values and social norms in such a way that they make way to our culture, to our subconscious mind and become part of our existence. In long run, these cultural norms make us look patriarchy as a natural and everlasting institution. Another thing, most of the scriptures was written over a period of time and reflects the tensions and dynamics of that era. Most of these texts like Manusmriti, or Dharma-shastras, Niti-shastras and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were actually prescriptive texts, that is, they tell us what ought to be and not what was. Thus, they represent an ideal that was not always followed or not followed as strictly as presumed. But when these texts reappear (and are actually glorified by the revivalists) they are exalted in their status and their teachings are taken literally which makes patriarchy appear more rigid and narrow downs the scope of dynamics in the practice.


Pancatantra refers to the women a lot of times in the text and many a time stories are meant as a reference point to warn young men against women and their promiscuity. Almost in the entire text, the agency of women is thoroughly negative. The reason for such construct lies in the nature of the text. The very introduction of the text suggest that the text was primarily meant for pedagogical purposes, and as we see in the works of Michel Foucault how pedagogy is also a very important and institutionalized means to repress sexuality. Sometimes, when the story doesn’t warranty the use of misogynist polemics, such biases gets reflected in the language, analogies, metaphors, examples etc. especially reflected in the verses accompanying the stories in prose.


Here, we must mention that language, words, syntax, syllables are not just grammatical entities. We don’t just speak a language, we don’t just convey messages and meanings, and we also convey its cultural idioms. Words are never bereft of its cultural landscape. It has multiple layers into it- the words that are spoken, the tone of the expression, the arrangement of words, the context of the words and the psyche of the speaker and receiver of the words. Words don’t always project the expected meanings; words always project something beyond what is apparent. As Michael Foucault points out- “signified is in excess to signifier”[23]. This is even truer in the context of fables interspersed by verses. Poetic language is a creative way to express and not just express; express it in the words of Sigmund Freud- “what is being repressed in serious talks”[24]. Thus, even within the limited scope of action and limited free hand available for the authors/compilers (due to the requirements of the texts and the audience); they are able to express something beyond what is not apparent, nor visible. We need to deconstruct the structure of these songs to reveal these hidden meanings. But we also need to see another objective of songs- create imagery, images that have cultural nuances, prejudices, biases of the author. We can reveal the psyche of the authors through the fables, through the verses. In the case of tales, many a times certain thoughts come alive not because they reflect the personal thoughts of the authors, but rather because they are the dominant discourses prevalent during the time of the composition. Therefore the onus should also be on class which patronizes such work because eventually they are the one who consume and approve the texts.

We shall now look at the major and minor instances in the text where the agency, biases, character etc of women get reflected directly or indirectly in the text. In major parts of the text, a man (especially a king) is deemed a “svāmi” of his subjects, weapons, horses, books, instruments and women (1:2:111)[25]. So there are attempts to “commoditification” of women.  The stories frequently quotes passages from texts like Manusmŗti, Arthaśāstra, Nītisāra etc. to give credibility to his text and its misogynist biases. Some verses dealing with “strīsvabhāva” are the longest verses in the text and are entirely focused on their promiscuity. In Pancatantra (1:3:146-156) in the story of dantil and gorumbh, which by the way is a story on heresy not directly on women,  the whole series of verses points out that

“They (women) talk to one person, and eye the other

Focus on the third one….. It’s difficult to read the mind of women”

And further,

“As fire remains unsatisfied with n number of wood, ocean remains unfulfilled by n number of rivers, god of death is never satisfied by devouring people, similarly women is never satisfied enough by the company of men”

And finally,

“She never gets a quiet corner; she never got the right opportunity

She didn’t have a love seeker, that’s why a woman is still virtuous….

A women is disciplined as long as she doesn’t get a lustful man”


These verses are full of disgraceful lines directed against women. One difference between this text and smŗti literature is that Pancatantra never claims any religious affinity, nor is it any authoritarian text, nor does it stakes claim of originality. But what it does is disseminate the shastric knowledge in a way that could be used for practical purposes in a more accessible way. What I feel is that even though both smŗti literature and texts like Pancatantra have their own set of anti women discourses, while smŗtikāras were motivated by a sense of anxiety regarding the sexuality of women which needs to be regulated according to the needs of the patriarchal society, in Pancatantra there is no such social need, but a prejudice against women who are seen as obstacle in the pursuit of material and diplomatic successes as well as an inferior being that could be controlled like a property by strong men. In this regard Pancatantra resembles more to a Nitiśāstra than a book of fables. This approach is also visible in the Jātaka albeit it has a religious purpose and its stories are meant for spiritual attainment for monks as well as lay persons. Although there are many stories which are common between the two but you see differences in their approach.  For example the story of the dove and the hunter appears in both Pancatantra and Jātakas. But while the Jataka version focus on the sacrifice of the pigeon to satisfy the hunger of the host the version in the Pancatantra has a preceding portion before coming to the main story. In this portion, the male and female pigeon long for each other and consummate. In this context, the female is quoted saying-

“Whose husband is not satisfied by her, the woman is not worth being called a woman. If ‘swami’ gets satisfied, all deities are fulfilled. If he is not satisfied, then there is no purpose for living in life. A brother-father-son can give only limited happiness to a woman, only the husband can give eternal pleasure to a woman, so why should not a woman venerate her husband”[26]


These descriptions are important on various grounds- firstly, it tells us how our culture, our pedagogy inculcates ‘virtues’ like unquestionable devotion to husband, which is a characteristic feature of a patriarchal society. Secondly, this idea is not something that emerged in isolation. It carries forward the tradition of the Dharmaśāstras which very clearly formulates such norms and at the same time, we find many important later texts that express the same idea in different context, different language but probably same intention and same patriarchal structure. This is where “inter textuality” becomes so important. We have dialogue between Draupadi and Subhadra in Mahābhārata, between anusuya and sita in Rāmāyana, Buddha’s discourse to Sujata in Anguttara nikāya, all express the same idea.


Jātakas have their own dynamics, especially when we try to understand it in the context of gender. The difference between the brahmanical version and the Jātakas may perhaps be ascribed to their different approaches towards household. While Pancatantra draw its inspiration from Nītiśāstras and brahmanical treatises and though it actually talks about diplomacy, kingship and statecraft, the household concerns reflected in the text are very similar to that of brahmanical texts. Conversely, Jātakas emphasize on the need to reject the role of household (as also emphasized by Uma Chakravarti) and follow the renunciatory path. Thus, while in Pancatantra the concern associated with women is the urge to control the sexuality of women within the household, in Jātakas the immediate necessity is to avoid being tempted by the unbridled sexuality of women that could deviate a person from his path to salvation. Also, while in the Pancatantra the issue associated with women is resolved by the main characters of the narrative itself (usually the male counterpart), in Jātakas most of the stories require the need of a mediator, who is almost always the bodhisattva, and the very introduction of bodhisattva helps in assimilating Buddhist philosophy and theology within the framework of a fable. Pancatantra similarly utilizes the stories as a means of pedagogical tool to teach worldly matters and practical wisdom.


Taking some more examples from Pancatantra, we find certain attitudes in the text towards women in different stories of the text. For example, in the very popular story of Book IV, ‘Monkey and Crocodile’ (which is also found in Jātakas), the wife of crocodile and her female friends are presented as evil and crafty, who plot to kill her husband’s friend, the monkey. In the next story in the same chapter, ‘An Ass Without Ears and Heart’ where King Lion orders his minister Jackal to get an ass for him, Jackal goes to a village, finds a distraught ass, lures him of female asses in jungle and brings him to the lion. In this story female asses are presented as mere sexual objects. The only positive agency provided, if any, to women is either as a devoted and servile wife or a mother. But even a wife is seen with grave suspicion for her moral conduct. These reiterate the idea that a woman can remain moral and chaste only under strict control and regulation of a man. This poses multiple problems; firstly, there is so much emphasis on norms of “chastity”. In one of these stories, women are punished for committing adultery, by losing her nose. That particularly story is most explicit in its anti-women polemics.


“If the weather is unpleasant or the lanes are choked by rains

Husband has gone away to foreign land

This is ideal condition for a woman of bad character”[27]


“All those illusions possessed by great demons, are well known by women

Women traps men by laughing, crying, through sweet talks etc.

She can falsify truth and vice-versa

How can a man protect himself from such an illusionary woman?”[28]


Talking about the Jātakas, the stories are garbed in religious philosophy but still has clear despicable attitude towards women. In “Cula Paduma Jātaka”, we get accounts of despicability of women through story of an adulterous wife who sorts to adultery with a criminal and attempts to kill her husband, even though her life was saved earlier by the husband. The story also provides justice and punishment- husband survives, is later installed as king and order her killing[29]. In “bandhana mokkha Jātaka”, queen commits adultery with each royal messenger who came for her welfare in absence of her husband. The story makes its intentions very clear at the end of the narrative-

“The passions of woman are insatiate

And she does but act according

To her inborn nature”[30]

These stories thus act as an agent for reinforcing time and again the “strīsvabhāva”, promiscuous, untrustworthy and adjectives like this. While accessing the role of women, every assessment becomes relative. Thus, Jātakas can be compared to brahmanical sources and here we find a comparative better condition and better scope for mobility but if we compare the condition of men and women, cracks begin to appear. In most cases we find women workers as impoverished, like in Ummadantī Jātaka, conversely, these low status women are also shown to be more mobile than the ruling class or high status women, who are often depicted in a state of vulnerability and protection, often resisting public gaze[31].


Thus, we find that though these texts tell us a lot about gender and status of women, we should not take the category of women for granted or generalize their condition as even the women within the same texts and between two different texts, are divided among class, caste, economic status and other lines of differentiation. So the status of women is meager and unstable in a patriarchal society but the degree of negotiations and compromises within the structure depend upon these and other external factors as well as interplay between these factors and the power structure. This also suggests that “where there is power, there is resistance”. But these texts skillfully omits any sign of resistance on the part of women in the text which itself suggest a lot regarding the composition and purpose of these texts. Also, we can point out in our assessment that even if we find agency of women in Jātakas (much less positive agency reflected in Pancatantra) is exercised within the structure. All the compromises, negotiations, resistance and agency of women exist within the structure of patriarchy. There have never been enough attempts to challenge the structure which carries these norms and which has kind of naturalized the institution of patriarchy. Pancatantra is a strong part of our pedagogical and knowledge system but we don’t realize how by reading those “children’s fables” we are subconsciously imbibing norms and values that are discriminatory and that eulogizes gender differences. In modern times, we may not have read any Veda, any Dharmaśāstras but we all know the stories of Pancatantra and Jātaka. And a prescriptive text of ancient period, in my opinion becomes even more dangerous.

In conclusion I would like to recall certain points discussed in the 1st part of the essay. The “inter textuality” of the text and the popularity of the text ensure that these travelled far and wide creating different discourses. This is how in these discourses, in these retellings, oral narrations, these texts get naturalized and these texts conversely naturalize the norms it reflects. This is how as Nivedita menon pointed out, culture and society reinforces patriarchal institutions. Another point to make is the repression of sexuality pointed out by Foucault. Both these texts repress sexuality but their intentions are different from each other. While in Pancatantra the site of repression is house hold in most cases, Jātakas focus on the renunciatory tradition and the site of repression is heterogeneous urban milieu as well as the monasteries. Apart from being a site, repression also act as a medium for higher goals for men. Repression of sexuality helps in achieving kingship or various material gains in Jātakas repression is meant for spiritual gains. But in both cases, or rather we should say in almost all cases the onus of sexual propriety always falls on women.

Finally, we don’t find role of women in compiling any of these texts which gets reflected in the attitude of authors towards women. While in modern times, there have been attempts of alternative readings and interpretations of other such ‘patriarchal’ texts like Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata which tries to give greater agency to women, such attempts are not yet prominent for Pancatantra and Jātakas. Modern feminist scholar Suniti Namjoshi has rewritten some of the Pancatantra fables as ‘Feminist Fables’ published in 1981. In one of the story she has introduced the Blue Donkey, replacing the Blue Jackal in original Pancatantra. Suniti’s female Blue Donkey, whose color sets her apart as a strange creature, can stand for many things—the figure of the female writer, or of those discriminated against for their sexual choices or the color of their skin, a creature who makes those around her uneasy because they don’t know where to place her[32]. More such works are needed to deconstruct and demystify the structure of patriarchy that prevails over such work. An even more difficult task is to deconstruct and to challenge the structure that we have inherited through our culture that we carry with us, our language, food, dressing, behavior etc that is all dictated by patriarchy. To challenge that is in a way is to challenge and introspect our own existence, our own culture, our own behavior. But that introspection can widen our horizon to the more broad understanding of gender, which then goes beyond the narrow compartmentalization of men and women, to understand what lie beneath the structure.

















Primary sources-

  1. Pancatantra translated by basant singh bhring; Rigubhadra prakashan; 2000; New Delhi
  2. Jātakas volume 1: Buddha’s stories for young and old” translated by Todd Anderson; Buddha dharma education association inc.; 1994; USA

Secondary sources-

  1. Roy, Kumkum- “the power of gender and the gender of power”; 2010; oxford university press; New Delhi
  2. Singh, Dhananjay- “fables in the Indian narrative tradition”; 2011; D.K. print world pvt.ltd. New Delhi
  3. Kaul, Shonaleeka (ed.) – “cultural history of early south Asia: a reader”; 2014; orient black swan; New Delhi
  4. Singh, Upinder- “a history of ancient and early medieval India”; 2009; Pearson Longman; New Delhi
  5. Nath, Vijay- “the Puranic world: environment, gender, ritual and myth”; 2009; manohar publishers; New Delhi
  6. Dharwadker, Vinay (ed.) – “the collected essays of A.K. Ramanujan”; 1999; oxford university press; New Delhi
  7. Foucault, Michel – “the history of sexuality volume 1: an introduction”; 1978; Pantheon books; New York
  8. Lerner, Gerda- “the creation of patriarchy”; 1986; oxford university press; New Delhi
  9. Menon, Nivedita- “seeing like a feminist”; 2012; Zubaan and Penguin books India; New Delhi



  1. Shinde, sucheta- “Panchatantra: Critical Analysis from Feminist Perspective”; EUROPEAN ACADEMIC RESEARCH Vol. II, Issue 10/ January 2015
  2. Rege, Sharmila- “Institutional Alliance between Sociology and Gender Studies: Story of the Crocodile and Monkey”; Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 32, No. 32 (Aug. 9-15, 1997)
  3. Mehta, Tania- “The Changing Configurations of the Indian Short Story: Sites, Space and Semantics”; Indian Literature, Vol. 48, No. 2 (220) (March-April 2004)
  4. Jain, Jasbir – “ek tha raja, ek thi rani: patriarchy, religion and gender in religious kathas”; India International Centre Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 1 (SUMMER 2004)







[1] Julia Kristeva-“the bounded text” and “word, dialogue and novel” cited in dhananjay Singh-“fables in the Indian narrative tradition” pp 164


[2] Roland Barthes-“from work to text” cited in ibid.

[3] Dhananjay Singh- “fables in the Indian narrative tradition”

[4] Tania Mehta- “The Changing Configurations of the Indian Short Story: Sites, Space and Semantics”

[5] Kumkum Roy- “representing the courtesanal tradition: an exploration of early historic texts” in Roy’s “the power of gender and the gender of power: explorations in early Indian history”

[6] Ibid- “the other kshetra: some aspects of procreation and peasantization in north India (2nd century bce-2nd century ce)

[7] Vijay Nath- “women as property and their right to inherit property” in “the Puranic world”

[8] ibid

[9] ibid

[10] Uma Chakravarti- “the Jataka as popular tradition” in shonaleeka kaul (ed.) “cultural history of early south asia”

[11]  Anand k. coomarswamy quoted in ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Jasbir jain- “ek tha raja, ek thi rani: patriarchy, religion and gender in religious kathas”

[14] ibid

[15] A.K. Ramanujan- “Tell It to the Walls: On Folktales in India Culture” in “the collected essays of A.K. Ramanujan”

[16] A.K. Ramanujan- “A Flowering Tree: A Woman’s Tale” in ibid.

[17] Acharya deepankar- “introduction” in “Pancatantra” translated by basant Singh bhring

[18] Sucheta shinde- “Panchatantra: Critical Analysis from Feminist Perspective”

[19] Anuradha Sharma referred to in ibid.

[20] Michel Foucault- “history of sexuality volume 1”

[21] Nivedita menon- “Seeing like a feminist”

[22] Gerda Lerner- “the creation of patriarchy”

[23] Michel Foucault- “The order of things”

[24] Sigmund Freud- “the collected works of Sigmund Freud”

[25] Pancatantra- (1:2:111)

[26] Pancatantra- (3:8:147-49)

[27] Pancatantra- (1:4:184-87)

[28] Pancatantra- (1:4:194-209)

[29] Jātaka stories in “Buddha’s tales for young and old volume 1”

[30] Cited in Uma Chakravarti-“the Jātaka as popular tradition”

[31] Kumkum Roy- “engendering the urban world”

[32] Suniti namjoshi referred to in sucheta shinde’s “Panchatantra: Critical Analysis from Feminist Perspective”