RARE COLLECTORS ITEM. FIRST PUBLISHED-1916. In India and the Far East, the story of Rama, Sita and Hanuman is not just an ancient classic; it is a mystique and a myth that has provided inspiration for the entire cultural framework of southeast Asia for four millennia. At the beginning of this country, Balasaheb Pant, Raja of the State of Aundh in Maharashtra, undertook the preparation of an illustrated summary of this ancient epic. In the rich tradition of Indian rulers who wielded the pen with facility, he was a writer as well as an artist. His creation, visual and verbal, concretised the major events in the Ramayana of the sage Valmiki and was hailed both in the East and the West as a significant artistic achievement. It was first published in 1916. Bhuvanrao Srinivasarao, also known as Balasaheb Pandit Pant Pratinidhi, was born in Satara in the year 1865. His ancestors came into public eminence when Parasuram Triambak Pant was appointed Pratinidhi by Sivaji’s second son, Rajaram. Thereafter two branches of his family served the descendants of Sivaji; one at Kolhapur under Rajaram and Tarabai, and the other at Aundh under Shahu Chatrapati. Balasaheb became the ruler of Aundh in 1909 and, until his death in 1951, he was acclaimed for his personal achievements as well as his worth as a statesman. In consultation with Mahatma Gandhi, he undertook in 1939 the historic ‘Aundh experiment’ which established the first pattern in India of decentralised village democracy through total self-government in the villages of the State of Aundh.