Simon Winant is a PhD student at UGent working on Sanskrit adaptations of the Indian epic Mahābhārata. In his current project ‘Evangelists and Epigones: Sanskrit adaptations of Mahābhārata by Jains in 13th-century Gujarāt’ (FWO), he explores two Mahābhārata adaptations composed in 13th century north-western India: the Pāṇḍavacarita (1213 CE) by Devaprabhasūri and the Bālabhārata (1240 CE) by Amaracandrasūri. Contrary to the nascent trend of vernacularisation in late medieval India, Devaprabhasūri as well as Amaracandrasūri, both Jain monks, opted to use Sanskrit for their adaptations.
While Amaracandrasūri’s Bālabhārata is arguably non-sectarian in its depiction of the Mahābhārata-narrative and largely conforms to the contents of the Sanskrit epic attributed to Vyāsa, Devaprabhasūri’s Pāṇḍavacarita explicitly champions the values of the Jain religion. By comparing these two adaptations with the authoritative Mahābhārata associated with Hindu traditions, Simon hopes to contribute to a better understanding of North Indian literary culture with regards to language choice, courtly support and religious ideology.
Besides Sanskrit epics and Jainism, Simon’s research interests also include early Sanskrit kāvya authors, Prakrit, Kannada, and historical linguistics.
MA Indian Languages & Cultures, Ghent University (2017-2019), Dissertation “Echoes of Vyāsa in Devaprabhasūri’s Pāṇḍavacarita”
BA Indian Languages & Cultures, Ghent University (2014-2017)
MA English-German: Linguistics & Literature, KU Leuven (2013-2014), Dissertation “The Jewish Element in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda : a Comparison between British and German Responses”
BA English-German: Linguistics & Literature, KU Leuven (2010-2013)