Ibonia and Ramayana

According to Indian poet and diplomat Abhay K., the Malagasy epic of Ibonia is similar to Indian epic of Ramayana in its grand plot.


  • According to the poet, Ramayana is popular in South East Asian countries, specifically in Indonesia. In Indonesia, it is still played and performed.
  • Thus, it was believed that Madagascar should create its own version of Ramayana because, origin of Merina people of Madagascar is traced to Indonesia.

What are the similarities between Ibonia and Ramayana?

  1. Abduction of Ibonia’s betrothed wife Rampela by Ravato, is similar to abduction of Rama’s wife Sita by Ravana.
  2. Ibonia’s fight with Rabato to get his wife Rampela back is similar to Rama’s fight with Ravana to get back Sita.
  3. 300 words in Malagasy language from Sanskrit.

What is Ibonia?

Ibonia is an epic poem of Madagascar. It dates back to at least several hundred years. It comprises of tale of conception, birth, struggle, betrothal, and death of its hero Ibonia. The poem has been told in various forms in the island of Madagascar. It predates the introduction of printing press in Madagascar in early part of 19th century. First known transcription of the story was recorded in 1870s. it rapidly gained canonical status in African literature tradition.

What Ibonia is all about?

Story in Ibonia starts with the conception and birth of Ibonia, who’s demand is to be betrothed to Joy-Giving girl while being in the womb of his mother. However, the Joy-Giving girl is taken away by Trouble-Stone man, before they can be married. Before fighting to win the girl back, Ibonia engages in a verbal duel with Great Echo and beats him. In return, Great Echo offers Ibonia advice on how to pass a series of tests in order for him to confront on his quest to regain his wife. Lastly, Ibonia wins his confrontation with him and escapes with the Girl. Both remain married for around ten years before Ibonia’s peaceful death.




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