Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Lessons Learnt From Vanara, The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara

Writers like Anand Neelakantan bring a fresh perspective to the stories that have been told for ages in the same mould. You can learn only new concepts from reading such writers. Here is what I learnt from reading his latest novel `Vanara’:-

  1. The greatness of Indian literature is its diversity. There is no one authentic holy book, nor a church or religious clergy insisting on one point of view. This is a tradition we should preserve with utmost care.
  2. Jatayu was not the good bird projected in most versions of Ramayana.
  3. Devas and Asuras practised casteism alike
  4. Sugreeva always had an inferiority complex about his brother Bali. He did not mind even a heist to fulfil his ambitions. He was a meek and lazy guy.
  5. Indira is a post and not an individual.
  6. They are to be called Vana Naras and not Vanaras.
  7. Hanuman tried to behave like a Brahmin.
  8. Vana Naras believed they were born to be slaves. They never dared to go against the holy scriptures.
  9. Vana Naras used secret ballot under the leadership of Tara.
  10. Tara is said to be the wisest of all in Valmiki Ramayana
  11. Kishkinda created by Baali was an open city for all race, tribe, caste, language or creed.
  12. Ravana was not invincible as portrayed, he was imprisoned by Karthya Veerarjuna, the robber king. Karthya Veerarjuna insulted Ravana by making him stay with Sugreeva, a Vana Nara. Ravana did not touch Sugreeva even once during his stay. He, however, paid Karthya Veerarjuna, the ransom money to free Sugreeva. As we all know, Sugreeva later played a pivotal role in the slaying of Ravana.
  13. Tara did have a soft corner for Sugreeva. Sugreeva was a creep who stalked his elder brother’s daughter, and his obsession for her is chilling.
  14. Vana Naras celebrate a lot in their weddings despite their poverty.
  15. How Sugreeva sets up Bali for a bullfight with Dundubhi much like Shakuni in Mahabharata did with the Kauravas and Pandavas.
  16. Both the Devas and Asuras were jealous about Kishkinda.

Anand Neelakantan tells his stories in simple words and carries this gift to this book also. I cannot disclose everything in the book. You must read it more than once to get the hang of the story. The book is a panoply of the tales of Vana Naras, the Devas and Asuras, don’t miss out on it. It is available on Amazon at

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