The Literature of Thailand


Mural painting depicting Ramakian in the Gallery of the Royal Chapel

    Thai traditional literature is essentially religious. Most of the literature in the old days consisted of works on Buddhism and Hinduism directly or indirectly. Most of the works of emotive literature were written in verse in various pattens. For prominent examples of such works may be cited briefly.
    1. The Romance of Khun Chang Khun Phan, an indigenous story of love, pathos and at times humourous of a triangular love plot of one heroine with two lovers. The story, apart from its beautiful expressions, contains a mine of informations on old beliefs and social customs of the Thai before the impact of Western culture. The story as is known has been translated into English and French.
    2. Mahachat. A story of the Lord Buddha in his last-birth-but-one on earth before he attained his Buddhahood. This birth is called Mahachator the Great Birth, portraying the story of Prince Wetsandon who fulfilled his last mission on erth as a Bodhisat-a would-be Buddha, thus preparing himself for the enlightenment in his last birth on erth. Hence, the life of Prince Wetsandon is an ideal for the faith. The people like to hear recited the story of his life for the supreme sacrifice of Prince Wetsandon touches their hears deeply.
    3. Ramakian (or Eamakirit in transliteration) is the story based on the famous Indian epic, Ramayana. It is unique, containing many episodes and details which are not to be found in the original epic, but showing traces of contact with certain versions of the Ramayana in India, Malaysia, Java and Cambodia. There is an English translation.
    4. Sam Kok, This is a translation from San Kuo Chi, a Chinese historical romanceof the Three Kingdoms. Unlike the three preceeding ones, it is written in prose with perfect expressions of style of the language.
    5. Phra Abhaimani, This is a romantic tale written in verse by one of the most famous and popular poets of Thailand. It is an imaginary tale of love, intrigues and adventures, and reflects some ideas of the people towards the Europeans of the last century.
    6. The romance of Inao. This is a translation from the well-know story of adventures of the national Javanese hero prince. It is written in a refined and perfect style of the Thai Language and mean for dramatic performance.
    7. Rajadhirat, This is a Thai translation of Mon history which deals in a large part with the war between the Mon King Rajadhirat (Razadarit in Burmese), in their struggle for predominance over the Mons and the Burmese. The value of the book, Rajadhirat, is not in its historical facts (as it reads like historical romance) but in its perfect style of Thai writing.

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