Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review : Scion of Ikshvaku ( By Amish Tripathy )

Buy it online on Amazon .

A story can be retold in many ways. And that is what Amish ( author of the Shiva Triology ) has done with the epic Ramayana. Staying true to the spirit of the original, he has unleashed his creativity by introducing many a twists and turns into the repackaged Ram Chandra Series. A clever move in case those fanatics and purists question his interpretation of Ramayana, a sacred Hindu text.

The fight between good and evil is given the garb of trade monopoly which is bleeding Ayodhya even as the paths of Lanka are being paved with gold (trust the business ingenuity of this IIM guy). Among the most striking deviations from the originals is the depiction of Ram. Instead of being the favorite son, he is considered as the jinxed one and is blamed for his father's defeat.

He effectively channelizes his feminist inclinations by depicting Sita as a strong woman, a warrior princess who is also the Prime minister of Mithila. The poor hunchback Manthara is turned into a scheming rich merchant who has the ear of Queen Kekeyi by virtue of her immense wealth and not for any other emotional reason.

Introducing Manthara's daughter and killing her off in a Nirbhaya gang-rape kind of twist was not required at all in my personal opinion. Not so subtle allusions are made to the gruesome episode by depicting the main accused as a minor and hence exempt from capital punishment. But the final punishment meted out to him by Bharat may play a role crucial in developing the latter's personality in the minds of the readers. I loved the way Amish has spent time and effort on assigning different personalities to the four siblings.

There is also a reference to the use chemical/biological weapons being banned and one using them incurs a banishment of fourteen years. When Ram is felt with no option other than using one ( the name Asuraastra sounds cliched ), he chooses to do the honorable thing by going on a self imposed exile even against the wishes of Dasharath. In Amish's storyline, Kekeyi's emotional prelude in the Kopa bhavan is not the primary reason behind the exile but it only serves to make it easier for him .

Quite unorthodox but loved the modern spin that Amish has given it. ( I personally like it better than the Shiva trilogy ).

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