Posted on: 24 September 2013

Book review - Asura: Tale of the Vanquished

God of all things big
By Swathi Chatrapathy | Age Correspondent

"...Of late, Indian authors have increasingly been bringing in Hindu mythology into their fiction novels. Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Devdutt Pattanaik, Anand Neelakantan, Ashok K Banker and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni have recreated a few characters and incidents of the great epics with unbelievable imagination.

“Authors need to write about what inspires them. There is sometimes danger in that. But that is what we have chosen to do. It is the risk we take in our hopes to change the world a little bit for the better,” says Chitra Divakaruni, author of Palace of Illusions, where she has written instances from the Mahabharatha from Draupadi’s point of view and is currently writing on The Ramayan from Sita’s point of view.
Perhaps it is high time we did get different perspectives on Hindu mythology since the glorification of certain characters, has made our understanding of the Great Epics very one-sided. Anand Neelakantan, who has written Asura-Tale of the Vanquished, Ravana’s point of view of the Ramayana, says, “In my book, I have neither glorified Ravana nor Rama. I have just made them mortals with positives and negatives. My next book Ajaya, is on Duryodhana and will see Mahabharata from the point of view of the defeated. I believe that kind of openness still exists in our country. “ He also asserts that there is a fine line between criticism and abuse and problems arise when one crosses the line.
Speaking of problems, Kannada author Yogesh Master was recently arrested for stating that Lord Ganesha was born out of Devi Parvathi’s illicit relationships, in his book Dhundi. Most authors topine that religious sentiments must not be hurt to create sensational novels. “When you’re writing about cults, communities and Gods, you must understand that it is a much bigger entity than yourself. I recently received a call from a publisher asking me to writing about Kali Mata. The publisher insisted that I write although I know very little about the Goddess. I politely refused because it’s not a fashion trend that you follow,” shares Bengaluru based author, Nandita Bose. While she thinks publications require a bit more maturity, she does enjoy the variety of genres Indian authors have to offer."

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Read the INTERVIEW with Anand Neelakantan - who presents an alternative perspective on the Asuras:

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Thanks for this info. So many books to follow up, so little time... Sigh.