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Asura:Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People Paperback – 25 Apr 2012
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this book is not about some tales jotted from singing bards,... this is a true perspective, of how a battle is fought between 2 and only the conqueror seems to tell the stories... Asura is definitely something you must read just to find out what the other side seems to offer. But surely its again no Whining of the loser...neither a repentance call... but a pure Journey of the greatest Villains of all time ... his reputation precedes him upto dat magnitude dat mankind wishes to eliminate him every year... "Raavan" ... no doubt we were told he was so many things we ought not be...… --Sumit Pandey Dec 31, 2012
I started reading this heavy book with little hesitancy as it was written by a debut writer. However, once I started the book, it didn't look like a book written by a new author. It is very fascinating book with good narration and correct usage of words. Mythology might not interest the current generation; however, the way this story was presented would definitely attract people of all generations. In the past a lot of people have attempted to write stories on Ravana, the villain of Ramayana, the great epic of Hindus. However, all of them have attempted to portray Ravana as a real hero … --Krishnakumar T K Jun 3, 2012
I find it surprising that the reviews before this have not been positive about this book. Maybe it is because it challenges the accepted norms about Rama and Ravana, which is difficult for someone who has heard one version of the story from childhood to accept. Some complained that the character of Ravana did not have a consistent characterization. I think this is deliberate and what makes the book more real. Everyone is a shade of grey....and every human is a mixture of inconsistencies. A true characterization of Ravana cannot paint him consistently evil but it has to be more an internal conflict between noble intentions and wrong choices which the author has portrayed successfully. Having said that, here is my review. "Asura" is a very unique take on the Indian epic "Ramayana". While Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama's triumph over the evil demon Ravana, this book is the story from Ravana's perspective; the king who lost the war. Like every legend that grows over thousands of years, Ramayana is full of fantastic events and unrealistic occurrences (Ravana's ten heads, Hanuman's jump over the ocean etc.). However, it is obvious that these exaggerations must have had some real and fundamental truth to them which then evolved into the fantastic story that we now know as Ramayana. Anand Neelakantan does an excellent job of weaving together a very realistic picture of what might have been the actual events which now have turned into legends and myths. Ravana was a great ruler; flawed but great. Even the Ramayana acknowledges the fact that Ravana was a very learned and able ruler. The empire eventually crumbled due to infighting, betrayal and Ravana's ego, culminating in a great war precipitated by Ravana's abduction of Rama's wife, Sita --By Siby Mathew
About the Author
Anand Neelakantan was born in a picturesque small village Thripoonithura, on the peripheries of Cochin, Kerala. He did his Engineering and joined the Indian Oil Corporation besides moving to Bangalore. Anand Neelakantan is a famous Indian author, who rose to glory with Asura: Tale of the Vanquished, which was his debut novel. Apart from this, he also authored Ajaya: Epic of the Kaurava Clan: Roll of the Dice. DNA ranked him as one among the 6 most remarkable writers of the year 2012.
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And this particular narration of the Ramayana is just one of those. Ramayana has been told and retold but never from the perspective of the vanquished. And we all are aware of the fact that history is always biased, singing paeans of the victor and demonizing/denigrating the losers. So while Lord Rama is worshiped as the epitome of manhood, Ravana is degraded to the status of the evil villain who kidnapped the former's wife. Thankfully, the author has put a fresh spin on it and after reading this book, one will never look at the Ramayana is the same way as one did earlier. Meet Ravana, the complete man with his ten emotions (baser ones included) instead of the demon with ten heads .
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What is the meaning of Dasamukha is superbly narrated here...! May be its just a fiction, but it makes us think twice for the image of Ravana and Ram....!!
The only negative aspect I found was the pace is a little slow, especially the first few chapters, and it took 2 months to finish these (two days to finish rest of the book). Also the grammatical errors get irritating after a while, but the sheer brilliance of the plot makes you forget those.
Wonderful work, just like his Ajaya series!
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