Book Review on Asura:The Tale of the vanquished

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Asura is book by Author Anand Neelkanthan. The book is also known as Ramayana from Ravana's perspective.

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  • We all know that history is always biased and told from Victor’s point of view but here is a story told from loser’s point of view.
  • When I compare this scenario with the Shiva Trilogy, another book based on the Hindu mythology, Asura appears weaker on logic and scientific explanations.Some of them are Bhadra breaching the security of one of the most ferocious emperor and moving around freely carrying out murder assignments.
  • Book Review on Asura:The Tale of the vanquished

    1. 1. Introduction  Author: Anand Neelkanthan  Publisher: Leadstart Publishing House  Genre: Mythological Fiction  The Plot: The plot revolves around The Ramayana, with a twist, from Ravana’s perspective, more precisely Bhadra’s perspective.  Key Characters: Ravana, Ram, Bhadra, Mareech, Kumbhkaran, Vibhisana, Sita, Mandodari, Indrajit, Akshay Kumar, Vidyavathi, Mala, Prahastha, Vidyutjihva, Athikaya.
    2. 2. Brief time line of the story  Ravana, a half Brahmin half Asura.  Treated unfairly by his half brother Kubera, the ruler of Sri Lanka.  Inspired by the greatest Asura king Mahabali, Ravana vows to take revenge and establish the greatest Asura kingdom ever.  Ravana takes over Sri Lanka.  Sita, claimed to be Ravana’s daughter in the book, was proclaimed to bring bad luck to Lanka by the priests and Pundits.  Sita, a darling of Ravana was abducted treacherously by Mareech, Ravana’s uncle.
    3. 3. Brief time line of the story…Contd..  Sita, picked up and raised by Janaka, the ruler of Mithila and then eventually married to Rama, the prince of Ayodhya.  Ram abducts the throne and wander in forests. Ravana, disturbed by this deed of Rama, kidnaps his daughter Sita and kept her in the Ashok Vatika.  The story revolves around Vanar Sena’s search for Sita, the Lanka dahan, the fierce war, and the fall of Ravana. The story extends to Bhadra’s immigration to Ayodhya and his death.
    4. 4. High Point  Story told from Asura’s View Point  Ravana presented as a fallen hero  Credible description of bits and parts  Well researched book, taken account of all the versions of the Ramayana  Though mythological story yet devoid of any divinity  Asura and Deva not presented as good or evil but as different tribes/clans  Reference of Devas to Aryans and Asuras to Dravidians.  Explanation of Mahabali-Vaman Vishnu Avatar.  Explanation of Kumbhakarana’s hypnotic state.  Explanation of Ravana’s Ten Heads.
    5. 5. The USP: Bhadra’s Version  The USP of this masterpiece is First person narration by Bhadra & Ravana.  Bhadra’s version tell us about the uncaring attitude, debauchery and obsession with oneself of Ravana.  Bhadra supports Ravana only because of the common motive, he shares with his master.  Bhadra lost his entire family through the brutality of Devas.  Bhadra tries to emulate Ravana in many instances, but fails miserably.  Though Bhadra is overambitious about the treatment he should be getting from the king or about his fate in Lanka, yet he knows his position in the hierarchy, so he has no qualms regarding the same.  In real sense, Bhadra is the real depiction of a commoner Asura.
    6. 6. LOOPHOLES  There is too much of detailing at the beginning and ending.  The character of Bhadra seems to be coming in at every place. At times you feel like he is the protagonist of the plot.  The author has not been able to explain some of things. Bhadra breaching the security, freely carrying out murder assignments.  Author’s inability to explain the non fitting complexion of Ram & Ravana to their clans.  The Mismatch in Timeline.  Inability to explain some events logically.  With so many characters, the base for a particular sequence made so early that it loses relevance when actually appears.  Another plot, which appears weak is the scene depicting Kidnapping of Sita.
    7. 7. MANAGEMENT TAKE AWAY An analogy to the current world. Continuos conflicts between Socialists & Capitalists. There is reference to caste system, chauvinism, red tapism, nepotism. The leadership skills of Ravana, and how he fell as a leader. Decentralisation of Administration and Governance.
    8. 8. Conclusion  This book was an eye opener.  It washes out all the mythological prejudices.  A Refreshing perspective to the age old tale.  A presentation without bias  The narration of a common man and the sufferings of a common man is a refreshing perspective.  This book is also a social commentary on the current state of affairs in our country and in the world which is roiling in discrimination (caste, race, gender, color), poverty and corruption.

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