Asura 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 ForYears Until Now, No Asura Has Dared To Tell The Tale But Perhaps The Time Has Come For The Dead And The Defeated To Speak For Thousands Of Years, I Have Been Vilified And My Death Is Celebrated Year After Year In Every Corner Of India Why Was It Because I Challenged The Gods For The Sake Of My Daughter Was It Because I Freed A Race From The Yoke Of Caste Based Deva Rule You Have Heard The Victor S Tale, The Ramayana Now Hear The Ravanayana, For I Am Ravana, The Asura, And My Story Is The Tale Of The Vanquished I Am A Non Entity Invisible, Powerless And Negligible No Epics Will Ever Be Written About Me I Have Suffered Both Ravana And Rama The Hero And The Villain Or The Villain And The Hero When The Stories Of Great Men Are Told, My Voice Maybe Too Feeble To Be Heard Yet, Spare Me A Moment And Hear My Story, For I Am Bhadra, The Asura, And My Life Is The Tale Of The Loser 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 was born in a quaint little village called Thripoonithura, on the outskirts of Cochin, Kerala Located east of mainland Ernakulam, across Vembanad Lake, this village had the distinction of being the seat of the Cochin royal family However, it was famous for its hundred odd temples the various classical artists it produced and its music school I remember many an evening listening to the f

❰KINDLE❯ ❅ Asura  Author Anand Neelakantan –
  • Paperback
  • 504 pages
  • Asura
  • Anand Neelakantan
  • English
  • 13 July 2017
  • 9789381576052

10 thoughts on “Asura

  1. says:

    How to Define Dangerous BooksSometimes the only force that can take you through tabductso the end of a book this bad is the sweet thought of revenge of how you are so going to maul the author in your review once the book is done and dusted.This is a book that is so painfully badly written 500 pages of tripe that ordinarily it should not merit much thought, but the fact that it tells a story that so many would want to hear, and might believe too easily, makes it dangerous nevertheless, and worth discrediting.Also, the idea of giving voice to the victims, of inverting the historical bias of history is written by the victors is quite interesting This was the reason I could not resist picking up the book The Tale Of The Vanquished 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 Written through a distorted prism of historical victimization, this book is simplistic beyond imagination, is replete with misprisions, and makes no attempt either to capture the poetry of the original epic or show any sort of fidelity to its philosophy Instead it mangles every aspect of it.The author is clearly a Dravidian fanatic and tries every angle to work his fever pitch hatred into the epic and its historical atrocities.In effect, the author wants to fan the North South Divide the Aryan Vs Dravidian political flame and the caste divide, and is extremely vitriolic in his language throughout The hatred is obvious in every page.The two main threads running through this atrocious and fanatical novel are 1 Hate the North Indians, they brought all evils into society.2 Our only weakness is our lack of unity, let us band together, Brothers, we are the original rulers of India before these intruders came into our lands.The basic thesis is this India was originally ruled by the Asura kings and Tamil was their language and it was high culture and complete equality and what not a la Mahabali s paradise celebrated through the Onam festival of Kerala the book assumes that fable to be the default condition of India In a classic nostalgic narrative, this Mahabali s India is evoked throughout as the Golden Age of India According to the author, then the Aryan Invaders , a bunch of uncouth barbarians came and overthrew the Asura kings all due to their own lack of unity and established an uncultured primitive society throughout India Yes, the barbarians not only won every war but they conquered the whole of the sub continent and this is in spite of the fact that the Asuras were so advanced in technology that they even had flying chariots the Pushpaka Vimana and stuff Go figure.Then the main narrative takes over Ravana, an ambitious youth, rebuilds some semblance of the original glory of the Asura s and eventually starts capturing back the mainland from his base off it in Sri Lanka During one of his conquests, he fathers a girl child who was abandoned and then adopted by the king of Mithila yep, Sita is Ravana s daughter in this narrative can t have the good guy indulging in random abductions, can we Then Ravan watches with great sadness as Sita marries Rama later in life and decides one day that her life with Rama will never be really cool and abducts her in her own best interests, mind you because the Aryan society mistreats women and Ravana doesn t want that for his daughter So in keeping with the high moral principles of the Asuras, he kidnaps her and keeps her captive against her will way to treat them equal, eh Rama launches an attack and as usual but not before Lakshman disfigures and rapes Ravana s sister, provoking the now pacifist Asura king , the lack of unity is the undoing of the Asuras Ravana s own brother plots to dethrone him.Eventually Rama triumphs and then institutes the caste system, Sati system and every known evil all dictated by the Brahmans India degenerates into all sorts of chaos and loses her position as a moral force and a political force in the world The dark ages descend and Rama was the initiator, Ravana was the last hope for the Tamils the golden age was lost forever.Now the funny thing is that the whole novel is written at a time when the whole Aryan Invasion theory has been thrown out of the window, or less It was part of the divide rule policy and this author wants to bring back those heydays of old It is politically motivated twisting of facts There is hardly any justification for the inventions that the author has indulged himself in.Facts 1 Ravana s father was Visravas Ravana was an aryan himself in all likelihood He is known to have followed the Vedic rituals that are so derided in this book and technically that was the criteria for Aryanhood, just as Vibhishan in this book does 2 Ravana was a North Indian himself too, before traveling down south and capturing the kingdom that belonged to Kubera who is himself supposed to be Ravana s brother an earlier wave then So if anything, he must have been one branch of the Aryan Invasion that spread across India as per that theory 3 Dark skin is not a characteristic of Non Aryan, nor is white skin a characteristic of Aryan Rama was himself dark skinned So was Krishna, later and Arjuna, for good measure So was Vishnu himself, the supposed god of the white skinned Aryan race btw, Shivites Vs Vishnavites is another virulent theme of this book Vishnu worshipers are shown as the uncouth Aryan stock while Shiva worshippers are the Dravidian stock, according to the author 4 Sita is Ravana s daughter purely because she is dark skinned By that logic, Rama too could have been an Asura prince What, if any, racial conflict is the Ramayana supposed to portray then 5 Plenty of Rakshasas were fair skinned and hence cannot be a simplistic racial characterization.6 Dravidians are not always dark skinned stereotypes are for idiots, surely 7 Recent genetic studies have shown the racial stocks to be hopelessly intermingled throughout India and gives no evidence of any distinct racial divide between North and the South.8 Except for the language, not much divides the so called Aryan and Dravidian culturally, genetically, religiously or historically Even the linguistic divide shows the potential for being bridged as a common ancestor for proto Tamil and Sanskrit is investigated.9 One thing, the book boasts of being Ravanayana The name Ramayana is formed from Rama and ayana , translating to Rama s Journey, not Rama s Story Shows the level of knowledge that was brought into this rewriting of Ravana s and his people s story.A Note to the ReadersDear Readers, the author is clearly misguided and the book is clearly a fanatic s attempt to rekindle old hatreds Please do not take it literally Take it as an inventive, if extremely badly written, exercise in reversing the so called historical bias of victors, and leave it at that It merits no historical discussion, and is definitely of no political relevance.This book is a blatant attempt to fan anti brahminism, North Indian hatred, and basically blame every ill of society on this historical injustice It does have a call for caste solidarity, but even that is not a noble call, considering that it is caste and not class that is being called to unite.For me, the scary thing about this is that such sentiments are already high in many cities So many North Indian friends of mine complain about the increasing xenophobia towards them in South India, even in metropolitan cities like Bangalore Speaking in Hindi in Chennai is a sure fire way of being discriminated against Similarly, the North Indian cities too are treating the South Indians in a derogatory manner and treating them as encroachers.The stereotypes that are popular about Tam Brahms , Mallu accent , the gali speaking Delhiite , chinkis , Yuck, South Indian idli dosa , the uncouth Bihari etc., are all manifestations of this Not to mention the crudeness of delusional movies like Chennai Express Ayyo, Rama, what s aappening This mutual alienation is very dangerous and could easily be the cause for major riots in our densely packed cities This sort of fanatical historical narratives only add fuel to this fire and should not be encouraged Instead of banning books that offend religious and racial sentiments, we should be careful of such works which provoke those sentiments and tries to convert them into blind hatred Those are the dangerous ones.Links Come south, young man, but here be dragons The Great North South debate rages Labels and stereotypes Do the roots of racism lie in the stereotypes we create Breaking India Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines would be a nice corrective as a modern, opposing conspiracy theory, but perhaps closer to the mark.

  2. says:

    Before I start my review please allow me to tell you about the Ramayana It will help you get the context.Let me also clarify that I only have a superficial knowledge about Ramayana Mostly gleaned from a children s abridged edition they taught us in school, what my elders told me and popular culture The Ramayana meaning Journey of Ram is an ancient India epic about Lord Ram He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu one of the principal Hindu Gods and regarded as Maryada Purushottam the perfect man being The epic states that Ravana, the mighty king of Lanka would abduct Shri Ram s wife Sita Ram would invade the island, kill Ravana and rescue Sita Scholars will tell you that the characters in the epic are metaphors for various qualities Ram represents the soul, Ravana stands for ego and so on The epic is than a narrative of war revenge but is about ancient Indian philosophy told as a story.In mainstream for lack of a better word versions of the epic Ram is the hero while Ravana is the villain Ram is worshipped as a God while Ravana is often vilified as a demon king In Ramayana, Ravana though a villain was also portrayed as a courageous warrior, a great king, a learned scholar a great Shiva one of the principal Hindu Gods devotee However, there are a few versions where Ram Ravana exchange their status Anand Neelakantan s Asura Tale of the Vanquished portrays Ravana as a misunderstood hero, Ram as a righteous man strait jacketed by the scheming Brahmins and all the virtuous characters in the mainstream Ramayana now have shades of grey.Ravana in popular culture is often depicted as having ten heads I was told that ten heads signified ten brains high intellect knowledge In this book, the author clarifies that Ravana is depicted as a ten faced character as along with intellect he also embraced the nine base emotions of anger, pride, jealousy, happiness, sadness, fear, selfishness, passion ambition He did not want to be a God Ravana wanted to be a complete man.The author also portrays the Asuras and Devas were two distinct races of people Asuras were the original natives of India while the Devas came from outside Ravana was an Asura while Ram was a Deva.Anyways, let us come to the book The narrative alternates between Ravana Bhadra.Ravana is shown as the poor boy with the dreams of building a great Asura Empire I enjoyed the adventures of Ravana how he would ultimately become the mighty king of Lanka But the burden of kingship would start taking its toll and the character would change over time Just like an ordinary human Ravana would start misbehaving suspecting his senior advisors, be cruel towards his subjects and even humiliate his mother siblings in public Ravana himself was aware of how he had changed and in the end he would realize how he had placed his trust in the wrong people.The most tragic character of the story is Bhadra a common man whose family had been brutalized by the Devas He would believe in Ravana s dream of building a great Asura Empire where laws would be just and every individual would have the opportunity to rise above his station in life by hard work and a bit of luck Bhadra would faithfully serve Ravana as a soldier risking his life multiple times In fact he would make it possible for Ravana to be a king, do all the dirty work for him But, Bhadra would be rewarded with suspicion and contempt Ravana s folly and the ensuing war with Ram s forces would ultimately lead to the destruction of everything he had fought for He represents the exploited, humiliated masses who have been down trodden for millennia.The biggest villain in the book is the Deva Brahmin The Brahmins are the ones who devised a rigid social order where a person s birth decided his her entire life, the women were suppressed and treated as commodities and the Brahmins manipulated everyone including Ram to do their bidding.I agree that the rigid caste system was a social evil indeed But, the constant vilification of the Brahmins was a bit too much at times.I had started the book with very high expectations The premise was interesting and given the success of the book I was expecting something fantastic However, what I got somewhat fell short of my expectations I am not saying that it was bad but somewhere I felt it lacked the wow factor.

  3. says:

    Half way through, the book seems like a scientific explanation of a myth, with a strong anti North and anti Brahmin slant But that maybe because I am reading the unmodified, raw version that is too hard hitting to be printed because it could get banned or at least get shouted at By the end of the book however, two things become clear One, that all myths are machinations of ancient politicians and people came to believe what they found convenient Two, that while there is no concept of a codified list of sins in Hinduism, almost anything that seems like a deviation from the norm can be construed as evil in our land The author does a good job at presenting the grey areas in our belief systems, which are largely shaped by what we believe were black and white since time immemorial While criticisms of Maryada Purshottam Rama have been around since the Valmiki Ramayan, this one is different because it combines class struggle from Bhadra s perspective with the story of a war supposedly fought for righteousness The power of the first person narrative works wonders for the book, as both Ravana and Bhadra speak from their hearts On the flip side of the coin, there is no character with any human kindness or any positive virtues in the book This makes for a very pessimistic outlook of humankind and Hindu religious texts For all the anarchistic suggestions in the book, none of the characters seem to be likeable or inspiring or funny The sarcasm is caustic and it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth I found myself speed reading and wanting to forget what I had read.

  4. says:

    Very disappointing book The premise was very interesting writing Ravana s version of events But the writing was simply terrible To start with, the editor on this book did a pretty shoddy job There were multiple errors of spelling and grammar Also, this is supposedly a historical mythological piece so it should reflect the period I found many of the phrases and analogies were quite anachronistic For an example, terms like an efficient time manager and useless jargon and mumbo jumbo are very 21st century phrases and it jarred me to hear them in a book set in the ancient times, especially since the narrators were characters and not the author himself It greatly detracted from the authenticity of the book.The literary style itself was very slow and repetitive I lost count, early on in the book, of the number of the times the same arguments about the caste system were hashed and rehashed.Character development was also an issue I expected to end this book either hating or loving Ravana as represented on the pages All I felt was indifference and supreme relief at having finished the ordeal of reading this book Even events like the death of children that typically tug at the heartsrings were written in a manner that excited no emotion in me.I also found the voice of Ravana bordering on schizophrenic Within the space of a paragraph, he would contradict himself An example I wanted to hug Prahastha s still body and tell him that, than anyone else, I had respected and loved him I also wanted to tell him that he had always got on my nerves with his unwarranted advise and talk about Asura dharma Suddenly I hated him from deep within Pg 396 From love to hate in three sentences To me this book represents the fact that a good idea is not enough and how bad writing can demolish even the best of ideas I would not recommend this book to any reader with some discretion erroneously spelled in the book

  5. says:

    The book didn t seem as author s debut Truly astounding flow with powerful language.Author seems to be a very capable writer.But it was very disappointing to see such a capable person twisting the original Ramayana and have compromised too much on the facts This may be about Ravana s perspective, but it doesn t demand the twisting of Ramayana facts For instance Rama s life as per Ramayana is 11000 years But the author has portrayed the incidents sprawling across a period of 70 years.Now, if the question is around if human life can be that long , then research should be done on what evolution could have done rather than changing the timeline to some believable number the author pleases The war scene is highly compromised to put Rama in bad light and Ravana in good.Many other facts are comfortably ignored to put Ravana in good light.This reaches a wider audience than the original Valmiki s scripture There is a good chance of people believing the author s pure imagination as fact just because it is believable than the original scripture or this is reachable than the original scripture.Many myths can be twisted as we like,but Ramayana is not a myth It is a scripted epic which has too many myths surrounding Even considering, the epic to be just a fiction and not a real happening , still we don t have the right to twist the tale as we please.If the author had a fair eye to understand the script of Valmiki as it is, and then made the story with Ravana s perspective it would have been the truly Asura story.With that kind of expectation, I picked the book, but was disappointed.I don t think talking from Ravana s perspective is wrong, but twisting the facts as we would like to hear so there are some anti brahmin , anti ramayana arguments is not acceptable.Such a capable author could have moral responsibility of researching before taking his story to the world.But this inspires me to understand 24000 slokas of Ramayana in detail before judging about the book.Nevertheless, the language and story telling is truly enjoyable.

  6. says:

    ASURA TALE OF THE VANQUISHED BY ANAND NEELAKANTAN.Rating of this book after testing on five backgrounds.1 The Content Hats off to the research work Every minute detail is casted with utmost dedication I ll rate this 4.5 out of 5 as for the reason nothing could have been written.2 The Narration.It wasn t that appealing as for the two reasons Lengthiness of the conversations that compelled me to complete the novel in three days which I could have done in a night if it wasn t that distracting If the topic was ancient, I think the language used should be justifying that though there were only less words so it can be ignored I ll rate this test 3 out of 5.3 Editing Analysis Editing was up to the mark but yes of course, Best Is Yet To Come Reduction of the frequency of the repetitive words could have fetch concentration but again, it wasn t that big issue that couldn t be ignored I ll rate 4.5 out of 5.4 Hard work or home work Impeccable Going into the depth of some content and re writing it is itself a tall order But author did his job stupendously Glossary in the end helped me a lot I ll rate this section 4.9 out of 5.5 Overall book I ll give 3.8 out of 5 to the final product We have known about the ancient times from the Rama perspective, but knowing the same from Ravana perspective was a great journey You must grab the book if you want to know the life Ravana lived and how he treated his people.Vibha Bothra Jain

  7. says:

    An amazing stories that shows Anand Neelakantan s genius Its not just about the book but the way he looked at History, Religion, Mythology and then uses his own mind to write an awesome piece of Fiction.The thing I admire about the author is that in this country infested by religions, he thinks rationally and pours out his heart which breaths life into his Novel.This novel by Anand makes sense to me than Ramayana.

  8. says:

    Hmmm Quite a book, enjoyed reading every line.I was thrilled from the first page to the last one, although knew the storyline Ravan and his servant Bhadra s version of the epic kicks our imagination to view from the loser s side Till date we have heard only the victor s side History is written by those who have hanged heroes.The experience of reading Ravan s version is enthralling.Loser and the victor has a story a tell and this is the loser s tale When Ravan gets betrayed by his own brother, minister and navy admiral I could not resist my mind thinking about Gadaffi and Saddam.Ravan calls Hanuman the terrorist, who killed the asura babies and women showing no sympathy The thought of even calling Hanuman The terrorist never even crossed my mind so far Ravan has a point though.Ravan cries foul when Rama, Lakshmana and Vanara troops does not conduct war according to the code of conduct But swiftly reacts with a statement, what to expect from Deva barbarians Again Ravan has a point.Reason behind abducting Sita I would leave it to the readers to find out.He does not call himself as god or being pure, as the Lord Rama did.But the infighting of his ten faces of emotions blended with the incidents sometimes makes me feel that every one has to pass through this.One word. it s Ravanayana.

  9. says:

    Never having been a fan of Ram, when a friend s hubby told me about Asura, I immediately downloaded it on my Kindle wanting to read it after the current one I was reading I expected a fairly good novel the Ramayana retold it in the words and from the perspective of Ravan What I didn t expect was a story that completely took me over and in its entirety with its rage and rawness and all emotions It starts with Ravan lying on the battle fields his life slowly oozing away his blood drenching the grounds he lies on.It tells the story of the Ramayana through the eyes of Ravana and Bhadra both surprising characters Ravana s childhood as a half asura, yet on the harsh roads with his Asura mother and siblings while his Brahmin father lives a fulfilling life away from sorrow and poverty Young Ravana s anger that lies dormant and his insecurity being a half bred is poignantly told We learn how the Asuras mastered the arts and architecture and the sciences Maya is an Asura the chief constructor the best that our Indian mythology knows he also built the legendary palace of illusions for the Pandavas in Hastinapur On the other side, completely irrelevant as it first seems, we read how the Devas rampage Asura villages, rape, kill and destroy Among them is Bhadra who sees his baby daughter killed and his wife molested and then killed and can do nothing to stop this calamity while he too is left to die.It is a story of these two men, who build a contrast, that couldn t be greater The protagonists meet every now and then Bhadra, a cowering piece of flesh, Ravana, a King As the book enfolds, the emotions are varied and extreme It depicts Ravana as a learned man He tries to bring his fellow Asuras together and to lead them It is the story of a leader whose pride gets in the way of listening to those who are loyal to him It is also the memoirs of a leader whose love for the family makes him take regrettable decisions And yet, it is also the story of Sita, who brings about a chain of events that then lead to the mighty and unfair war between Ram and Ravana Only at the end do we realise the importance of Bhadra, who till then is a mere onlooker, like a disturbing wart who is always on the side of Ravana somehow always is in the picture It is difficult not to hate and pity Bhadra and it is equally difficult not to sympathise with Ravana s thoughts when he attempts to be a good leader.It is a beautiful book in all its brutality It is poignant in its relationships The language used has its own melody and poetry A very good and gripping read for those who care to look a little further into the whys and hows of the Hindu mythological psyche.

  10. says:

    Anand Neelkantan s Asura is an untold tale of Ravana I don t think it has been attempted so far I have read many interpretations of Ramayana from Sita s and Hanuman s point of view They were archaically following the same template laid down by Valmiki, Tulsidas and Kambar Asura was a revelation It makes you gasp and think In this humanized version there are no gods, demons with magical powers Devas and Asuras become clans as do Vanaras Ravana is not an exalted personage with ten heads but an ambitious, hot blooded warrior who wants to rule.I loved the speech that Ravana gives to Mahabali If you did not read the book, you might just read that speech and everything about this book would make sense Now that there are no Gods, Vishnu and Shiva just become long gone great kings whose deeds gave them the God status The tale of Vishnu vanquishing Mahabali is probably one of the best human like explanations that can be given to an impossible event Ravana is as human as anybody can be Brash, arrogant, egoistic, yet a lone voice comes up in his mind, questioning his motives and actions If that was not enough, you have Bhadra, a soldier, confidante, and a common man who is at hand during all momentous events of the story to give his point of view He is with Ravana through all the high and low moments of his life, yet his life does not improve a wee bit This brings home the fact that no matter what happens to the kings, good or bad, the situation of an ordinary common man remains the same He is still looted, ignored, and exploited.I went through the book at a snail s pace during the first four or five chapters The pace of the story picks up once Ravana captures his step brother s kingdom Lanka Ravana s passion for Vedavathi, become a fool s love for a widowed Brahmin girl and her subsequent suicide almost believable, so much so that you really feel sorry for Ravana and wish that she had accepted him Kumbakarna becomes a drug addict so that accounts for his sleep I won t reveal Ravana s reasons for kidnapping Sita it might just spoil the surprise But I can however say that the book is so well researched that no tale, no myth nor any version of Ramayana has been left unread by the author Many have been put off by the anti Brahmin sentiments of this book But on the hindsight, it is no surprise that a character like Bhadra or even Ravana would be anti Brahmin, given the fact that we have been top of the caste order for centuries for now A very well written book, but could have been trimmed down a bit with some crisp editing Nonetheless, it is worth buying.

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