Raavan author Amish Tripathi speaks exclusively with Navika Kumar | The Newshour Debate (27 Jun)



and joining me on the news at tonight is author a mystery party the man who wrote the Shiva Trilogy and now has come out with his new book Ravan a book that's number one on the charts only on pre-booking and thank you very much a mystery party for joining me on the news our tonight and I want to ask you what's with a mystery party and Hindu mythology Shiva and now not alarmed when the whole country is chanting Jai Shri Rama and there are battles that are happening over Jay serum you choose to write your book on Ravan is this is this a character in your mind that you are equating with contemporary India or are you only decoding the various shades of a human personality as depicted in the Ramayana you know Novica I wouldn't like to comment on the politics of the situation today because you know that that well that that is best left to the politicians I'd like to comment on how most of us in Indians look at our ethics our perspective is to learn from them and apply those lessons in our own life Lord Rama has you know has been deep in the souls of Indians for centuries for millennia and every character associated with Lord Rama obviously you know the way they live their lives the philosophies that they live with is something that we learn from as well right at this beautiful line somewhere that no Indian hers there are mine for the first time we're actually almost born with it and what I'm trying to do is put in my own interpretation of it you know that can we learn lessons from our ancients and lessons that perhaps we could apply in modern life as well so mystery party your lessons comes from Ravan why not Lord Rama or or any other character you've chosen Robin are you and you said I've read in various interviews this is a very dark book it's a dark side of emotions that you've tried to capture why Ravan why interpretation of Robin do you think this is a mycological character that has been misunderstood so far in the Indian context you know I know of course we must learn from Lord Rama and the first book of my ramps and the series rom sine of X Waku is is actually Lord Ram story from the birth of Lord Rama to the kidnapping of lady Sita but you know one of the folk traditions in North India I'd like to tell you about that and again one of the Sanskrit lines that comes down to us from our ancients is Shastra true dear Balu I see that folk traditions are often stronger than even the Shastras and one of the folk tales that come to us from North India is that when Ravan lay dying Lord Rama actually told Lord Lakshmana that Robyn may have been our opponent but there's no denying his scholarship so therefore he told Lord Luxan that go and learn from Rama and so your Lord Rama had that had that wise attitude that even if someone may be an opponent if Saraswathi ma has blessed him if he has scholarship if he has knowledge why you know why shouldn't we respect that knowledge and learn from him and I say we should take Lord Ram's you know example in this that we can learn some things from Robin too and it cannot be denied that Robin was a scholar even the Valmiki Ramayana is that very clearly he of course had the various faults a massive out-of-control ego couldn't control his temper at all but those are things that we can learn from to write that we should learn from Robin how we should control our ego how we showed no matter what our achievements try and stay humble because that will ensure that we can actually do justice to our talents even someone as talented as Robin suffered because he can control is equal so ameesha you know what what made you change the title of your latest book you know you you first conceived it as Rahman orphan of Arya Berta and then made it into enemy robbing enemy of our Roberta you know those are two distinct spaces that you are trying to explore why the change you know I in fact my readers have actually made some memes on it that I could decide the title and I was like Robin often of are you a kind of an enemy of re-birth ah yes the title of the book was Robin orphan of are Roberta when wrong sign of ikkaku and Sita warrior of metal of which is the first two books of the Ram Chandra series when they had been released I hadn't started writing the book on Ravan at that time and at that time the perspective in my mind of Robin was that he had been orphaned or rather he you know his his land had given him up his so he was in a way orphaned by his own land but when I started writing the book I realized that it wasn't the land which gave up Robin it was Robin who gave up the land so Robin had more reasons he he decided to become an enemy of the land that he was born in airavata so therefore I thought the title should reflect what the story actually says so hence I decided to change the name from Robin orphan of Alberta to Robin enemy of re Volta so a Miche I want I want to ask you this question that India present-day India the younger generation has grown up on various television series interpretation of ramayana and mahabharata in the Mahabharat you see an exploration of the shades of grey along with the black and white but in the ramayana it's normally the black and the white that are seen in stark contrast to each other rom represents the white and Robin represents the black how you know are you trying to really get out of that entire interpretation which is just black and white to try and discover shades of grey in these characters and what is it that you want to convey through this book that you've written Marisa Valmiki the the the composer of the origin at a far more nuanced take on life and in that you know he of course he shows the the areas of improvement for Robin but he shows Robin strengths as well he does not deny those in the Valmiki Ramayana and the way to see Lord Ram was that he is described as the maryada purushottama Bureau which is a different approach from what Lord Krishna's approach was and often maryada Porsha thumb is translated in modern India as the ideal man but that's actually an incomplete translation because Purushottam means the ideal man but when you add mariotta to it what does that mean maryada is laws traditions honor so when you say maryada Porsha thumb it actually translates as the ideal follower of laws or the most honorable man so what Lord Ram's life teaches us is what is the kind of life of an ideal follower of laws or the most honorable men and what can we learn from Lord Ram's life is that such a man is usually a very good leader for society society truly benefits from such a from such a leader or such a God because such a leader is willing to sacrifice everything for the good of his people but usually such a way of life creates challenges in within the family and perhaps that is something that we can learn from Lord Rama what is the life of a maryada purushottama so ameesha you know have you seen Ravan only from the point of view of the man Ravan or have you even looked at what really went through his mind you know in the entire Sita operon that really happened and Lord Hanuman who comes and Lanka that was burnt and and all of that is there is there some space for a woman's perspective as well in the latest book that you've written no certainly and you know I invite the second book of my Ram Chandra series Sita warrior of metal eyes completely from Sita mass perspective and there she has been depicted as a warrior and I'd love to take credit and you know and say that maybe I came up with this concept first but that would be untrue it's not true because the concept of seeing Sita ma as a warrior as someone who actually kills Robin is a very ancient tradition it comes from the earth both Ramayana which is also created to Valmiki G so the second book of my ram chandra series does see Sita ma from that perspective you know when when you when you're talking about your earlier book Sita an earlier book on RAM you know I I completely appreciate I'm saying when you're writing on Robin is there a woman's perspective in that as well or are you only seeing it through the eyes of Raman no this is Robins life from his birth to the to the day he kidnaps sitamma but I'll be spoiling the story for you if I told you that there is a very important female character a very important woman character of pivotal moment character in this in this book I will be spoiling the book if I if I tell you any more or tell you her name but I can tell you there's a very very important woman character I think you loved that character a lot when you read it yes I've read the snatches of the book and I've read what you are referring to but up you know I want to come back to yourself for a mystery party the author the man the man behind the book the man behind the Ram Chandra series and I've read you know some of the interviews that you've done and I want to ask you a mystery party you said that you wrote this book in the most tough phase of your life it was a dark phase and you had your own emotional issues to deal with while you were writing this book and maybe somewhere that has transcended into the dark book that you've written I I just I just to tread just a little bit into your private space and ask you did your brother-in-law suicide Himanshu Roy the mutt celebrated ATS a cop who everybody knows and has identified with his suicide after the discovering of his illness of cancer did that also have a role to play in on your mind while you were bending this book naviga if I may request if I don't speak on that where I will say he was he was one of the father figures in my life and a man I admired greatly one of the finest man I ever had the honor of God and and that's I understand your trauma I understand your trauma and well your readers would have wanted me to ask that question and I asked you that question but let me come back to the book I want to ask you you know since up you've you've written several books in the Ramachandra series I want to ask you where do you stand and what do you think about political Hinduism which is also described as Hindutva as to the mythology the religion that you and I and you know generations of Indians have really believed in what's really in your words the difference between the two look I guess politicians will will will do what what they have to do there are things I guess which are done for for political purposes and I don't think one can I don't think it's fair to criticize politicians for practicing politics that is that's the nature of the of the business and what politicians have to do to get votes reflects to be honest in some senses how we Indians are so let's not spend too much time critics then the way I would approach the ramen is there are you know there are many things that we can learn from from that text things which which impact which can impact us on a daily basis the philosophies with which we can we can live our life and I think for us common people at least those who are artists it's perhaps better if we focus on that rather than the politics of it I never really comment on politics ever I don't comment on partisan politics I comment on societal issues and and the wisdom of our ancestors well these are society issues because somewhere religion and politics haven't they got intertwined when Rompin there becomes an issue election after the election hasn't society got intertwined with the politics of the day can you take one away from the other well society may perhaps not but I think maybe the choice of some of us artists can be that if we can stay away from politics then maybe we can impact the conversation which can probably help society a little better because I believe that at least I believe that if artists start getting involved in politics then they may not be heard with as much of an open mind as they should be so in that sense perhaps is better to stay away from politics and and focus on views on societal issues on philosophical issues then we can contribute to to this great land that we live in let politicians do politics artists should focus on issues that they can comment on that they can help society on well true while I respect that emotion I respect that point of view but a mystery party finding up if I may say there's this there's this lovely line in the bhagavad-gita Shriya swadharma vicuna hospira Thoreau macho news mm do you own swadharma even if you make mistakes while doing it rather than doing someone so that my even if you do it perfectly I define my swadharma as looking at the wisdom of our ancestors and and communicating the philosophies that we can that we can learn from them and trying to hit society with with such work our artists necessarily to be cut off from the real world our two artists operate and live and speak from a bubble that they've created for themselves do they have no links to the real world is that what you are trying to say no in some parts when we are absorbing what we need to absorb to be able to write our books in those days yes we must interact with society I read a lot on Twitter I try and follow people from both sides of the political divide so that I get different perspectives I read English newspapers I also read Hindi newspapers the TV channels that I say I say both sides of the perspective what it does at least it goes and has some ingredients in the back of my mind so then when I am writing when I'm writing I tend to be cut off when I am writing I don't like to interact with anyone I just like to be with myself but all the ingredients that have gone in while you know which will go into my book I must make sure that the ingredients come from as varied a source as possible it must come from the real world but it must come from all sides of of the cultural and political divide because then only then can I write a full across a perspective that is balanced one of the you know wise things that our ancestors believed in that divinity is usually in balance any form of extremism is not good and if an artist can help drive balance and center that would probably be good for society well so ameesha amis I want to ask you in the name of Jay Shriram Jay Hanuman those were the chance that somebody who was lynched in Jharkhand was made to speak before he was actually lynched is this is this what the interpretation of the Hindu therm that we've been doing or is this a result of the very polarized politics that we've seen in the recent past it was of a specific case it would be incorrect to comment because I'm assuming there is there is police investigation going on and it will go through the court process as it should and whoever takes a law into their hands the full weight of the law has to be applied on the full force of the law has to be applied on those criminals and on this they can be no no doubts about there should be a process that kicks in and one of the problems in modern India is that our police system and our justice system is so paralyzed that most criminals are are confident that they will probably die of old age before they they are punished beyond all Appeals and if you can get a criminal justice system to move quicker we will put you know the fear of the law into into these criminals and we can control such horrific incidents well said that so so ameesha I want to wrap up by just asking you this question your book already top of the charts on Amazon on pre-booking so how are you looking forward to the success and how important is commercial success for an author like yourself while writing I do 9 I don't look at while writing I don't look at at all whether whether the book will succeed or not I write with the honesty of my heart you know I am very clear as the book start flopping and I can't make money from it I go back to making I'm very very clear on that I will write what feels right to me but once the writing process is over and the book is published there is a time when yes I do get nervous and that is a time where I feel it is my it is my Dharma to make sure that my publisher does not lose money he invests a lot of money and in my books you know so have to make sure that they recover their money so I have to work as as hard as I can to promote the books do interviews I'm not really a very social person you know that I don't really mix around too much way around my book launch times I try my best to to promote as every as I can and I think that's my duty I have one has to help the publisher the publisher should not make losses for the for the writer to have his his creative bubble that's not fair and frankly that's not Dharma well well a mystery party thank you very much for being on the news are sharing your insights on the book and the cover of the book right here says 5 million copies in print well we'll wait to watch how soon these five million copies vanish off the shelves thank you very much a mystery party and thank you for joining me on the NewsHour wish you luck with the book and of course we'll catch up with you after after this book actually is behind you thank you very much and good night viewers I hope you liked the insight into the author's mind good night the NewsHour at 9:00 we'll be right back after the break

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