Ayodhya airport named after Maharishi Valmiki

News Excerpt:

Recently, Prime Minister inaugurated the newly built Maharishi Valmiki Airport in Ayodhya, U.P..

About Maharishi Valimiki:

  • He is referred to as Adi Kavi, or the “first/original poet” in Sanskrit.
    • This is because he is credited to having composed the Ramayana, believed to be the first epic poem in the Sanskrit literary tradition.
    • Ramayana is frequently described as the first consciously literary composition, the adi-kavya.
    • Valmiki’s Ramayana is divided into 7 cantos or kandas, each telling a different part of Lord Ram’s story.
    • Valmiki himself makes an appearance in the Bala and Uttara Kandas, the first and last chapters of the epic.
  • There is a prevailing, highly contested debate surrounding the caste of Sage Valmiki.
    • A number of scheduled castes, across the country, trace their lineage to the sage.
    • At the same time, certain scriptural sources identify him as a Brahmin.
    • In 2016, the Karnataka government set up a 14-member committee to determine the caste of Valmiki, after a book titled Valmiki Yaru? (Who is Valmiki?) written by Kannada writer kicked up a storm in the state.
  • Prior to becoming a sage, Valmiki was known as Ratnakar, and was a feared dacoit and hunter.
    • While some versions of the story claim that he was actually born to a Brahmin before getting lost in the forest and adopted by a hunter couple, more subaltern versions of the story claim that he was born to a Bhil king.
    • Either way, he would make a living by robbing villagers and travellers.
  • Valmiki Jayanti celebrated every year is also known as Pargat Diwas.
    • According to the Hindu calendar, it falls on the full moon day of the month of Ashwin, which corresponds to September-October in the Gregorian calendar.

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