Chat with Anand Neelakantan(Note pg 2)

Posted: 5 years ago
Hi Guys

Anu a member of this forum has convinced Anand Neelakantan to have a chat with us

Anand sir is an Indian author and is known for his novel's Asura:Tale of the unvanquished & AJAYA : Epic of the Kaurava Clan - Roll Of The Dice.He was also chosen as one of the six most remarkable writers of 2012 by DNA

He has retold the story of the two greatest epics of India from the losing sides POV and hence has given us a whole new perspective about these epics.

On behalf of this forum i thank him for agreeing to chat with us and for sharing his knowledge with us and also would like to thank Anu for organizing this chat

Kindly leave your questions on this thread for him

Rules to be followed

Participants in this Book Chat thread must adhere to the following rules and guidelines:

1. All rules of Mahabharat Forum and India-Forums, apply at all times, please refer 

2.No bashing, offensive language, no personal attacks on characters/actors/members.

3.  All QAs and discussions must be confined to "Mahabharat" and it's sub stories only.

4. Advertising  or promotion of any content is to be refrained from as it is against IF-COC

5.  Personal chatting or other chatting not relevant to the thread cannot be carried on in the chat thread

Edited by Sabhayata - 5 years ago
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Posted: 5 years ago

1) Asura:Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People

Tale Of The Vanquished is a novel which narrates the epic tale of Ramayana from Ravan's and Bhadra's point of view. This book has tried to break out of the monotony of narrating stories from the victor's perspective. The story is a combination of history, religion and mythology.

This book tries to debunk the faults of the Deva clan, which is portrayed as orthodox and biased. It talks about the liberty the Asura community enjoyed. The story of Vamana and Mahabali is described, along with the Agni Pareeksha undergone by Sita and the meeting between Jataya and Ravana. The human emotions behind these tales are looked into in a different angle.

There is an attempt to keep a new perspective in front of people in a logical manner, regarding the various practices from the epic tale. The book makes the readers think about the unreasonable practices followed by the Brahmins then. Apart from that, Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished: The Story Of Ravana And His People introduces questions about Ravana's lifestyle, choices and decisions.

From Ravana's challenge to the Gods for his daughter, to setting people from the Deva clan free from evil, the book aims to make the readers think. Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished: The Story Of Ravana

2) Ajaya: Book 1: Roll of The Dice (Epic of The Kaurava Clan)

This book is a retelling of the story of the great epic Mahabharata. The epic itself is built on an exciting plot that has interesting sub plots and leaves much opportunity for research and introspection.

In this series, the author, Anand Neelkanthan uses the tool of subversion for his new perspective. Here, the Kauravas become the protagonists and the story is told from their point of view. Duryodhan is named as Suyodhan. The values of the Pandavas are questioned here as they believe in a religion, based on a class-caste nexus. On the other hand, Suyodhan has a liberal mindset and believes in equality. Characters like Eklavya, a deprived lower caste boy and Karna, son of a charioteer, are given new voice and energy to establish their identity. They want an end to insults and deprivations due to birth history, in spite of having great skills.

The handling of these new sides to the epic characters  becomes quite interesting and entertaining. While Jaya is the word for the Pandavas, Ajaya is the story of the Kauravas, determined to achieve what they rightfully deserve Edited by Sabhayata - 5 years ago
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Posted: 5 years ago
Thanks for agreeing to the chat and thanks Sabhayata for organizing it

One very important question, when is Rise of Kali coming out?

The Andhe ka putr comment. AFAIK, that was a 20th century interpolation. Why did you decide to include it in the story? The only thing KMG says is that she smiled and that too only when Suyodhan described the event to Dhritharashtra 

What was the logic behind the dice game for Kaurava Co? Greed or revenge? Not certain I quite understood. The simultaneous attack on Dwarka, did it have anything to do with the game?

Am interested in seeing how Suyodhan deals with his conscience (for he has a very active one in Ajaya), after the assault on Panchali. He is, I believe, accepted as a just ruler, even in the accepted versions of the epic.But for all their heroism, the assault perpetrated on Panchali was on Karna's instigation and with Dury's silent consent and neither make any attempt to rectify. It seems like their liberalism stopped where self-interest began. 

The Shanti prastav. What was his logic behind not accepting the offer of 5 villages? 

The inheritance practice in the Kuru dynasty. Was it male primogeniture? That is one major premise in your book. I have heard it said that the elders chose the best of the next generation and the throne didn't automatically go to the.oldest son of the oldest son.

Your thoughts on Panchali's origins?
Edited by AnuMP - 5 years ago
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Posted: 5 years ago
Hi, Anand Sir

Welcome to the Mahabharat forum

I have 2 questions about both your books - essentially, some premises regarding them.  Namely
  • Ajaya: Your book seeks to explore the rationale behind what the Kauravas did.  But do you have an issue w/ the 2 state solution - Hastinapur & Khandavprastha - which gave a kingdom to both Suyodhan & Yudisthir?  I believe the reason that history judges  the Pandavas as being better is that Suyodhan wanted both Hastinapur & Indraprastha for himself, and hang the Pandavas out to dry.  Both Yudisthir & Suyodhan were good rulers,  but the idea of co-existence was alien to Suyodhan.  And the division was not a sleight to Suyodhan either: throughout the history of the Puru dynasty, there had been forking of the dynasty - notable examples being Yayati and Pururava. (BRC's serial made it a big deal, but it wasn't)
  • Asura: do you classify Ravan as an asura?  IIRC, asuras & rakshashas were different: the former were descendants of Diti and the latter of Dana (thereby also known as danavs).  Yeah, Shurpanakha was married to an asura, who Ravan killed during his conquest of Pataal.
Edited by .Vrish. - 5 years ago
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Posted: 5 years ago
Guys i have edited my first post and added some rules that need to be followed .Kindly go through the same as well
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Posted: 5 years ago
Good job Sabhayata
my questions yet to come
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Posted: 5 years ago
Thanks for taking out time and chatting with us.My questions are

1)In Ajaya from what i have read Pandavs seem to believe in a hierarchical system i.e since they were princes of kuru dynasty their status in society was higher and they deserved more or they had more rights or that their lives meant more than the lives of people who were lower than them in status but Suyodhan believed in the opposite

I can somewhat agree with this interpretation as there are examples of the same in text like Bhima insulting Karna during the contest organized for Kuru princes by Drona,Arjuna's involvement in Eklavya's incident,Panadavs involvement in burning of Nishada's at lakshagarah,Arjuna's involvement in Khandavprasath incident

So from these i can interpret as you have about Pandavas but my question is  was Suyodhan any different .I mean his friendship with Karna can be quoted as an example but as per me that did start with a selfish purpose i.e to have some one as strong as Arjuna on his side and not necessarily to prove that he believed  that even as Suta Karna deserved all rights of a kshatariya as Karna was a good warrior.So my question is can we really say that Suyodhan was any better are there any other examples of the same  except for his friendship with Karna?Also in Ajaya even Krishna ji seems to share pandavas beliefs  of hierarchical system and hence is against Suyodhan?Is there any example of the same that even Krishna ji believed in hierarchical system?

2)Ajaya is based on inversion theory i.e villains were actually the heroes and heroes were actually the villains and the side that won wrote their side of the story

But some how i find it hard to believe this inversion theory .As after reading the translation of the epic that we do have today i dont really see Kauravs being portrayed as villians and pandavs as complete heroes.if that were the case wouldn't the fact that Pandavs cheated to kill some major kaurava warriors be removed as well?Wouldnt Pandvas involvement in Nishada burning be removed as well?Wouldnt any citation that indicated Suyodhan was a good king be removed as well?

My point is if we go by the theory that victor's write their own history and hence their own story and wouldn't victor's remove any thing wrong or bad about them.The fact that even the flaws of pandavs are there in the epic that we have today makes it hard for me to believe in the inversion theory.Wanted to know your views on the same?
Edited by Sabhayata - 5 years ago
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Posted: 5 years ago
Note:-Guys this won't be a live chat.Anand sir will answer the questions as and when they are posted

Also please restrict your question only to Mahabharat and related stories
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