He is a centenarian but Ramalingam Sarma from Texas, United States, is happy that at this age he has been able to successfully translate the Sunderkand into English for readers.
Ramalingam recalls that he first heard verses of the Sunderkand from his mother and grandfather during his growing up years in India.
Being a Tamil family, the script of the Hindu holy chapter from the Ramayana was evidently Tamil.
Though impressed by the wonderful words of the Sunderkand, Ramalingam could not manage to work on the book because he joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru after completing his college. He told Dainik Bhaskar that when he was 35 years old, he got a chance to read the Sunderkand in Tamil. He was influenced by it but had difficulty in understanding the Sanskrit language.
Even after his retirement, Ramalingam spent a few years on completing different projects. Then when his wife, Shakuntala, passed away, Ramalingam went to the United States at his son’s place.
An old photo of Ramalingam with his wife Shakuntala. Dainik Bhaskar
It was there in the US that the idea to translate the chapter into English struck Ramalingam. Yet again there was this hindrance in understanding Sanskrit.
But Ramalingam did not give up. Twenty years ago, at the age of 80, he decided to work on the translation. He then discovered that there was no one to teach Sanskrit in the Texas. Then he turned to the Internet. He continued to learn Sanskrit till he was 88.
At that age, Ramalingam enrolled in a typing course.
It took him 12 years to translate the entire Sunderkand into English. On his 100th birthday on February 6, Ramalingam launched his book.
Ramalingam’s Sunderkand is a book of two volumes of 650 pages each and will be useful for research, as well as educational institutes. Each word and each verse in the book have been translated into simple English for the readers.