We love reading the fictional retellings of ancient Indian scriptures. Actually, only India has a tradition to wholeheartedly accept various retelling of very important scriptures. Be it Ramayana or Mahabharata (referring just popular ones), you may find hundreds of versions of the same across the country. Bharatiya culture is the only one where you can love the Gods or their incarnations in any format, a brother, a friend, a lover, a kid,… It doesn’t mean people don’t respect them. They do. From the bottom of their heart. If you ask anyone (from Bharat – that is India) to name an elder person whom he/can refer without respect, just with pure love, mostly the answer will be – Mother! Does that mean they don’t love their mothers? Nope. They do, probably more than anyone else in the world L:). What a fantastic culture, full of lovely traditions!
Before a few years ago, Amish Tripathi, a finance service expert came up with a book where he tried to explore the life of Lord Shiva from a different and realistic perspective. The book was – The Immortals Of Meluha. The readers loved the concept and exploration so much that the book became a bestseller! Amish then concluded the story in a set of total 3 books of Shiva Trilogy. Another two books in the series are:
- The Secret Of The Nagas | Book 2 Of Shiva Trilogy Series
- The Oath Of The Vayuputras | Book 3 Of Shiva Trilogy Series
Being a person from the management sector, he came up with some interesting marketing techniques for these books. Giving away a leaflet containing a sample chapter from the book, having official book trailers and making the culture of book-launching a star-studded, expensive affair, he explored them successfully. He then left his job to fully concentrate on writing and got assurity of a handsome amount for his future literary projects by a remarkable publishing house. He then decided to explore the story of Lord Ram from the same perspective And that’s how the Ram Chandra Series is started. It is assumed that this series will be comprised of total of 5 books.
This time Amish has made available sample chapters from the book long before its release. They are available as Kindle EBooks that you can download freely and read them legitimately to get a glimpse of the actual book. Here are quick links to our reviews for these Free chapters from the Ram Chandra Book Series.
- Scion Of Ikshvaku | Chapter 3 | Book 1 | Ram Chandra Series
- Sita – Warrior Of Mithila | Chapter 1 | Book 2 | Ram Chandra Series
- Raavan (A Preview): Orphan of Aryavarta | Book 3 | Ram Chandra Series
So far, three books in the series are released and we’ve already shared our views for the first two of them.
|Book Title||:||Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta
(Ram Chandra Series – Book 3)
|Publisher||:||Westland (1 July 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||
15354 KB; 394 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters||:||29|
Today, let me share my personal views for the third book in the series Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta. It would be interesting to note that earlier the book was titled as strong>Raavan: Orphan of Aryavarta.
Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.
Do you believe in the saying – “never judge a book by its cover”? I do. Actually, our entire team do. At the same time, we recognise the influence of a book cover on purchase and/or reading decisions. The reason is obvious. We are engineered to like and appreciate visually appealing objects.
I must say – all books by Amish came up with interesting covers. And Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta is no exception. The large part of the cover page is covered by an illustration of the “Raavan” the antagonist of the tale, who is nothing less than a hero in this book. The designer has worked minutely on details of all the elements shown on the cover page. From the clothes to the crown (actually a headgear he used during wars). You cannot escape noticing a pendant with two fingerbones. You can also find him wearing a Rudraksha bead. You can see him on his warship. You can find illustrations of a few Lankan soldiers at a distance and a mighty ocean wave makes its presence. Everything reflects the grandeur expected from the same.
An impressive cover page.
Let us take a bird’s eye view of the plot.
Now it is well known that Amish has planned Ram Chandra Series in – hyperlink in contemporary writing – style. The first two books explore the story of Ram and Sita and concluded at a connecting point. This book explores Raavan’s story and concludes almost at the same point. The next book will carry the story forward with all the characters entangled with each other in one way or the other.
Raavan’s mother, Kaikesi, land into tough times as Raavan was born Naga. When she was expecting the second child, her husband, Vishrava went on some tour. The second child (later named – Kumbhakarna) was also born Naga! Nagas are mutant children and the society thinks of them as impure. The reason they born Naga is considered to be unforgivable sins from the past birth(s)! The Naga attributes of Raavan are hidden from the society so far. But, the news of this second child being Naga was spread the same night. The people gathered with a single demand, kill the child!
Mareech, Kaikesi’s brother, came to her rescue. He safely made the great escape with Kaikeshi and both the kids.
They reach to a distant port, and eventually, Raavan takes up working in trades rather than living on alms given by the temple. He also witnessed the Kanyakumari tradition and is mesmerized by the girl who is respected as the current Kanyakumari – the living goddess.
Raavan and Kumbhakarna grew up together. Rather, it would be better to say, Kumbhakarna grew up under the wings of Raavan. Nothing can come between them.
But, Raavan became so powerful and dethroned as the king of Lanka? How he came to fight with the Sapta Sindhu kingdoms lead by King Dashrath of Ayodhya? How Vibhishan and Shurpanakha entered into his life? So many questions, right? You need to read the book to get answers. During the course, you will meet Kubaer, Mareech, Akampana, Vibhishan, Shurpanakha, Vedavati, Samichi, Krakachabahu, Prahast, Jatayu, Ram, Sita, Malayaputras, Vishwamitra, Vasishtha, M’Bakur and others.
One of the most positive attributes of the book is its strong characters. The book is focused on Raavan, of course. The second most elaborated character is Kumbhakarna, the inseparable confidante Raavan has. The character that leaves the most impact is – Vedavati, though.
Raavan was a villain, but he had some qualities that cannot be ignored. He was very intelligent and well-read. He was exceptional warrior and determined commandant. He was a generous ruler (why otherwise the soldier ready to die for him). He remained loyal to those who remained loyal to him. He was cunning, ruthless and shrewd, no doubt. His inclination towards art(s) is worth noting. The author tried to explore all these attributes of Raavan. In fact, you can find him doing painting (with great imagination) and playing Hatha (famous as RaavanHatha). Raavan was a scholar too, but, this attribute is not explored in this book. Neither his devotion for Lord Shiva got the emphasis it requires.
Kumbhakarna’s character probably got so much attention for the first time. It serves as one of the strong points of the book. I will skip talking about Vedavati much as it will contain spoilers, and I want to avoid them as far as possible. You, however, cannot ignore the meetings and conversation between Vedavati and Raavan. Also, the way Kumbhakarna learns about right and wrong things, Dharma and Adharma to be precise, is one of the highlights of the book.
Kubaer’s character got the due footage in the book (yes Kuber is referred to so). Apart from Vishwamitra and those who have important interactions with Raavan, other characters are sidelined (rightly).
The author is good at exploring nature and elaborating scenes of almost every type. If you love detailing in explanations and scene building, you should read this book for sure. Here are some examples:
Very few people could shoot arrows unguided by vision. Even fewer could throw knives based on sound alone. But to stab a fast-moving animal like a hare, based only on sound, was unheard of.
Then he blew on it gently, till the tinder caught fire. One by one, he transferred the flame to the logs he had arranged beside the burning tinder. Soon there was a roaring fire in the centre of the small clearing.
Chilika provided a safe and secure harbour, and afforded easy access to a rich hinterland. In fact, the richest hinterland in the world.
The author uses modern words without hesitation, maybe to link strongly with the readers. In the same regards you can find Kumbhakarna referring Raavan as “Dada” (elder brother). You can find the author mentioning some interesting details, for example the Chilika lake didn’t get much importance in other literary works (at least in the small segment I have explored). The author also links the words and their meanings in an interesting way. For example, “Cuttack” is defined convincingly in the book. The way the author has explore the importance of the figure “108” in Bharatiya (that is Indian) culture, is interesting too. It will remind of the exploration of 3.14 (PI) by Dan Brown in his works, or “Hans Man” by Ashish Jaiswal in his book Fluid.
While referring to these positive points, I also found that Raavan and Kumbhakarna uses false names “Jai” and “Vijay” respectively. Why the author didn’t mention them as “Jay” and “Vijay”? They go more in sync. And the word is “जय” anyway.
The author came up with some interesting philosophical lessons like:
The lotus was a flower that retained its fragrance and beauty even while growing in slush and dirty water. It posed a silent challenge to the humans who visited the temple, to be true to their dharma even if those around them were not.
Of course, any wise person would know that to blame an entire community for the faults of a few was to take an extremely myopic view of things. Every society needs entrepreneurs and merchants as much as it needs intellectuals, warriors and artisans. And an imbalance in the structure favouring a particular class ends up creating problems. …
Only those who can reach millions of people can improve the lives of millions of people. Nobility without capability is limiting, it only results in good theory.
When you fill a clogged drain with more water than it can hold, it’s bound to overflow and contaminate everything around it. …
There are some lines that explore realities and at the same time they have words of wisdom too. For example:
Mareech himself stood in front of his sister and her children, brandishing his sword at the crowd. The ashram’s residents mostly comprised intellectuals and artists. Good at social boycotts. Good at verbal violence. Good at mob violence as well. But unequipped to handle a trained warrior.
Like every other book by Amish, this too has some interesting oneliners.
That’s the beauty of stealing from a thief; he cannot complain.
All of us are victims in some way or the other. But that doesn’t mean we should think of ourselves as victims.
Sometimes, the grief one is cursed with is so immense that even time surrenders to it.
A country that cannot honour its heroes doesn’t deserve to survive.
People do reckless things when they think the odds are in their favour.
Just because the Almighty has given you a mouth doesn’t mean you have to use it to say stupid things!
Martyrs can be dangerous. They trigger rebellions.
If civilians don’t rebel against the crimes of their leaders, then they are criminals too!
If you spend enough time with anything, you start liking it, even sadness.
The toughest thing for an author is to explore emotions on the paper. Amish does it effectively in the book. Here are some of them.
Why does the soul insist on hanging on to the body until the absolute last minute? Even when death is clearly the better alternative.
The world is full of selfish people. They will tell you what you want to hear in order to get what they want from you. To protect yourself you must know how to use them to get what you want. That’s the way the world works.
Yes, she lied to you. But she didn’t lie to the most important person in her life – herself? You should not be shocked. Instead, you should learn from her. Be clear about what you want. But hide it well. It will help you get what you want.
He had read somewhere that there was nothing worse than unrequited love. But they were wrong. There was something worse: Unrequited love that was not even aware of it being one-sided.
These quotes must have given you a fair idea of linguistics and writing quality you can expect from the book
The way the trade through the sea is explored and various battles are elaborated makes the book interesting.
This book has some expletives and cuss-words.
Overall, a nice thriller. If you can read mythology reimagining with an open mind, you will like to read it. If you are Amish Tripathi fan, you must have read it (many times) by now. Of course, Immortals of Meluha still remains the best work by Amish in my opinion.
While we were curious about this book since the day its publishing date was announced, but we were waiting for some good offers. Eventually, we found it available at competitive rates in Saurashtra Book Fair 2020 and bought a few paperback copies of the same. Why a few copies? Well, we are planning to host a giveaway of this book. How many of you are interested in the same? Please, let us know via comments below or through our social media handles. It will help us finalize.
Around 7.5 to 8 out of 10.
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