Ophidiphobia was the foremost reason that gave rise to imagination of the Indian serpent goddess Manas?, and thus came into existence the ophiolatric cult of this deity in course of time. The Manas? cult is in existence in Assam since either the tenth or the eleventh century. The tradition of reciting stories eulogising the deity ultimately took the shape of k?vyas. The Manas?ma?gals formed the oldest type of the Ma?galk?byas penned in medieval Bengal. Manas? could easily prevail over the low caste populace. Nevertheless, she had to withstand a lengthy strife from the upper caste Hindus. This was the essence of the Manas?ma?gals. We shall uncover in this book, links between the Assamese Manas?k?vyas and the Bengali Manas?ma?gals. We have found that the dissimilarities between the Bengali Padm?pur?? and the Assamese Sukn?n? composed by N?r?ya?dev were in the story line, while the similarities were in some of the lines themselves. The similarities are so many that it can be concluded that the same person must have written both of the k?vyas and that neither version was a copy of the other; one of them was indeed adapted from the other.
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Sabita Baishya Baruah, M.A.(Assamese Literature), M.A.(General Linguistics), M.Phil.(Modern Indian Languages), Ph. D. (Bengali), is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Assamese, Saraighat College, Changsari, Assam, India. The present book was her doctoral thesis for which Gauhati University awarded her the Ph. D. degree in 2007.
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