Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Review : ASURA-tale of the vanquished by Anand Neelakantan

It just breaks my heart when a fresh idea is implemented in such a crude manner. It has been a while since I came across such a terrible piece of writing and it really disappoints me because the story had so much potential. I guess it serves me right for expecting so much from a book.

                 From the very first page, the book spews hatred against the Brahmins and Aryans way of life. There came a point in the book where I felt I was reading some Pro Dravidian propaganda, which is not what I had signed up for. I believe the author wanted to showcase the evils of caste system but the whole point is lost when the entire book is full of anti-Aryan/fair skinned overtones. I do not know if it was intentional but the narration itself is very self-contradictory. The protagonist, Ravana says that the Asura  clan respect their women because unlike the white skinned Devas, they don’t  force their widows to practise Sati; but earlier in the book the same protagonist is shown raping a maid just because he was pissed off  with his wife.(I mean what the hell!!!).When I picked up this book, I thought I will be reading about Ravana’s intellectual conquests, his unique friendship with Bali, his administrative and military skills. Instead I got introduced to a schizophrenic Ravana who whines the entire time. The only thing I liked about the book was the character of Bhadra.His character represents the common man and his struggles. His account of the events that ultimately led to the downfall of Ravana is very interesting.    

                                              In my opinion, Ravana was a great emperor and deserved a much better story-a story that was at least proofread (I really don’t want to get started on the innumerable grammatical and vocabulary usage errors). The traditional version of the epic does more justice to this magnificent character.

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