History has always been cruel to the ones who lose, as the saying goes, history is written by the victor. But, what about the one who loses? Who tells their side of the story? In most cases, people hardly know anything about the one who lost other than what is being said by the victor. Indian mythology is no exception to this rule. But, I have come across one such book that tells the tale from the side of the person who lost. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished: The story of Ravana and his people by Anand Neelakantan delivers a fresh perspective to the reader, one that was not imagined before.
As the name and description of the book suggest, the book is written from Ravana’s point of view. It is his side of the story. What is interesting is that there are two narrators of the story, Ravana and Bhadra. Ravana has been portrayed as a man of principles and bravery. The book in no way tries to glorify Ravan and showdown Ram, it just tells Ravan’s side of the story. The readers will also be in for a surprise when they find out the real reason for Sita’s abduction as mentioned in the book. Even though we know how the tale ends, you will not be able to keep this book down. It will make you question your perception of Ravan and ask yourself, was he really that evil?
The book is well written and well researched, it has the power to hold your attention. I for one could not keep it down until I completed it. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to see things from a different perspective and is interested in reading about Indian mythology. The book is one of a kind and compels you to see things from the side of the vanquished.