Mythological stories leave a deep impact on our mind and blend with the contemporary realities, whether or not we are conscious about their relevance. Dandakaranya, literally meaning the ‘Adobe of the Demon’, held a quite significant place in the Ramayana. Lord Rama spent a part of his exile in the forests of Dandakaranya, where he struggled daily with various mystical and deadly creatures inhabiting the land. Valmiki had described Dandakaranya as a dense forest filled with wild animals and savage monsters. In the more recent past, Bengali Refugees of East Pakistan faced several issues during their rehabilitation in 'Dandakaranya' which came into prominence with the announcement of 'Dandakaranya Project' by the Union Government of India in 1958. The reaction of these refugees regarding the question of their resettlement in Dandakaranya is vividly portrayed in the autobiography of Manoranjan Byapari. Dandakaranya in the modern world, continues to be a center of forced rehabilitation, as it was for lord Rama. The forest could never be a home.

Does the relevance of Dandakaranya stop at myth and history? Dandakaranya appears in life in many different formats. Any kind of forced relocation brings back the perception of the Dandakaranya. During the pandemic, the doctors and the essential service providers were on the roads when the rest of the world were tucked inside their homes, safely. For many, the home became the Dandakaranya because they lost their jobs; work-from-home brought its own bag of troubles. Punishment posting in many professions reminds of the Dandakaranya. Migration to a new location or entering the mantrimonial home could usher the world of Dandakaranya for some. Also the fear of the unknown – the discomfort and resistance is another face of the Dandakaranya. The interpretations can be many. (You can check the talk series below for more ideas.)

Find your own interpretations of the Dandakaranya. Shock us. Inspire us. Make us think more.

A talk series on Dandakaranya (scroll down for details) will be curated under the scope of this project, to discover the term and its social implications from various lenses. The speakers are from diverse creative spectrum. Links of the talk series will be included in the digital compilation of stories and poems.


Project Lead:


Who can submit?

Open to all short story writers and poets.

Last date for Submissions: 31 July 2022


Project Details & REWARDS:

1. Selected stories and poems will be published into a digital anthology under TMYS ebooks. A selection from the rest will be published under TMYS web collection.

2. Excerpts from selected stories and poems will be highlighted on social media, post release of the ebook.

3. All winners will be announced in September 2022 on FacebookLinkedin, TwitterInstagram.

4. Three contributions will win THE BEST IDEA title and receive special gift hampers.

5. Selected contributors will be invited to participate in digital live sessions, to discuss creative writing, storytelling, books and of course, the creative / personal / social interpretations of their stories and the theme, Dandakaranya.

6. One contribution will win THE BEST STORY title and a cash prize of INR 1500/- (USD20).


Submission Guidelines:

  1. The submission could be fiction or non-fiction, written in English.
  2. The stories or poems should follow the central theme as elaborated in the introduction above. The author is free to follow his/her own interpretation which could go beyond the examples provided by us.
  3. The stories should not have appeared elsewhere before, in any form, in a blogspace or print or Facebook post!

(We are calling for short stories and poems only. Fiction or non-fiction. We will not consider essays/articles.)

4. One story OR three poems can be submitted per registration. Submissions should be in English only. Word limit : 1200 - 2000 words.

5. Any submission that does not adhere to the theme will be shifted to the list of general submissions for the website.

6. While making a submission, the subject line should be: Dandakaranya : <the title of the story>

All submissions should be emailed to tmys.stories, attached as a word file, with subject as indicated above.

All submissions should include a brief prose (60 words) explaining precisely, the author's interpretation of Dandakaranya which reflects in the contribution.

7. Each submission should include the contributor's introduction (150 words) pasted in the body of the email, social media handles (Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Instagram, as applicable) and an HD photograph (jpeg or png only) should be attached.

8. All submissions should use Calibri/Times New Roman, font size 12; font size 16 for headings.
***Only original and previously unpublished work will be considered.***
9. A participation fee of INR 200/- (USD 4) will be charged per contribution. This is a non-refundable fee, but we will do our best to cooperate in case you have made an error that can be corrected to help you resubmit.

In each such case, the editor’s decision will be final.

Our bank details:

Tell Me Your Story OPC Pvt. Ltd.
A/c no : 059685800000177, Yes Bank. Branch - Shankardhan Plaza Junction,

MM Road, Mulund West, Mumbai 400080, IFS Code : YESB0000596.

Post making the payment, please send a mail at to register yourself.

For writers residing outside India, please email us for a Paypal link.

***Registration doesn't guarantee publication***

10. One story OR three poems can be submitted per registration. Multiple submissions can be made with separate registrations for each.

11. Last date of all submissions: 31 July 2022

For queries; send us an email at with the subject ‘Queries’.




The Myth: Travel-lore of Ram Sita

Dandakaranya, as a place is associated with various Myths and Mythological references, which eventually created a huge influence on its reality as well. That brings us to this panel discussion where we try to understand the Myth and their impact on society today. Speakers: Vikrant Pande  Gisa Jähnichen  Utkarsh Patel

The Refugees: In Search of New Home in modern-day Dandakaranya

The site of Dandakaranya was chosen as the rehabilitation site for Bengali Refugees coming from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) under Project Dandakaranya. In this panel discussion we are going to discuss about the Bengali Refugees and their struggle for finding home in a place completely alien to them. We will discover the overlap of myth and reality here.Speakers:  Debjani Sengupta Anasua Basu Ray Choudhury Anindita Ghoshal

Punishment Posting: An Undesirable and Forced Relocation

Dandakaranya was the place where Ram-Sita travelled during their exile. It can hence be associated with Punishment Posting. In this panel discussion we will explore the idea of Punishment Posting from three perspectives - (1) the forced relocation of the armed forces in undesirable places (2) the duty of medical professionals during the COVID era (3) corporate forces accustomed to long office hours for whom the home became a punishment posting.Speakers: Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya Lt. Col. Ankita Srivastava Anurag Anand

The Cultural Shock : Clash between Traditional and Modern

Original inhabitants being remote tribals, Dandakaranya today has the presence of refugees and visitors who cause clashes between the traditional dwellers and the modern influx. That brings us to this panel discussion where we generalise the cultural clash between the traditional and contemporary from three different perspectives. (1) the remake or adaptation of films. (2) translation of regional books for global audience (3) the evolving women’s world.Speakers: Charudutt Acharya Saba Mumtaz Somrita Urni Ganguly

Fear Factor: Discomfort and Resistance in Exploring the Unknown

Dandakaranya is a fearful place in mythology, frequented by rakshasas. In the more modern world, Dandakaranya represents the fear of isolation and danger associated with it. An obvious interpretation thus, is the natural human tendency which is always discomforted and afraid of the unknown. This panel discussion will explore how this resistance ultimately takes a backseat when people are brave enough to embrace the change, by deserting the old orthodoxy. That is, how the idea of Dandakaranya can be relieved from the fear factors associated with it.Speakers: Tanushree Podder Sutapa Basu


The Cursed Terrain: A Discussion on the Geological Aspects of Dandakaranya

The story of Refugees from the geological perspectives, the acceptance of the place amid the resettled inhabitants, various tribal groups living there, the infertility of the soil which makes it difficult to sustain, the irrigation works initiated and the cultural conflicts. A thorough fact checking.Speakers: Shri Mihir Kumar Senapati (Geologist)




Other projects:

The Writing Programme Season 6

L&D Program with Storytelling: Workshops for Corporate and Academic Audience.