The Story Of Ravana And His People
Author: Anand Neelakantan
The epic tale of victory and defeat… The story of the Ramayana had been told innumerable times. The enthralling story of Rama, the incarnation of God, who slew Ravana, the evil demon of darkness, is known to every Indian. And in the pages of history, as always, it is the version told by the victors that lives on. The voice of the vanquished remains lost in silence.
But what if Ravana and his people had a different story to tell? The story of the Ravanayana has never been told. Asura is the epic tale of the vanquished Asura people, a story that has been cherished by the oppressed castes of India for 3000 years. Until now, no Asura has dared to tell the tale. But perhaps the time has come for the dead and the defeated to speak.
The ancient Asura empire lay shattered into many warring petty kingdoms reeling under the heel of the Devas. In desperation, the Asuras look up to a young saviour – Ravana. Believing that a better world awaits them under Ravana, common men like Bhadra decide to follow the young leader. With a will of iron and a fiery ambition to succeed, Ravana leads his people from victory to victory and carves out a vast empire from the Devas. But even when Ravana succeeds spectacularly, the poor Asuras find that nothing much has changed from them. It is then that Ravana, by one action, changes the history of the world.
I picked up this book because it’s premise was very interesting. I have written a post on my issues with Ramayan. You can read it here. So I picked up this book to know more.
The book was interesting, no doubt about it, but it took me forever to finish. Mainly because the book tended to drag on forever…gripping in some parts but just lagging on in others. The pace of the book highly varied.
I liked the fact that the book featured the story from two perspectives: one from the position of power i.e. Ravana’s POV and other from the position of the poorest of poor living in Lanka i.e. Bhadra. It was quite a delight to see how both Ravana and Bhadra start off at the same level, with the same motivations, same beliefs…but when one got power, and other got sidelined, and how through the time, both’s thinking evolved into different ways. Same, yet, different.
If there had been a few more rounds of editing, it would have made the book much better. If it had been a little more concise as well as found a few words missing here and there in the book.
Overall, this book is for the more patient reader. If you like your book fast, skip this one, but a book that provides good food for thought, none the less.