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’:-
- 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.
- Jatayu was not the good bird projected in most versions of Ramayana.
- Devas and Asuras practised casteism alike
- 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.
- Indira is a post and not an individual.
- They are to be called Vana Naras and not Vanaras.
- Hanuman tried to behave like a Brahmin.
- Vana Naras believed they were born to be slaves. They never dared to go against the holy scriptures.
- Vana Naras used secret ballot under the leadership of Tara.
- Tara is said to be the wisest of all in Valmiki Ramayana
- Kishkinda created by Baali was an open city for all race, tribe, caste, language or creed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vana Naras celebrate a lot in their weddings despite their poverty.
- How Sugreeva sets up Bali for a bullfight with Dundubhi much like Shakuni in Mahabharata did with the Kauravas and Pandavas.
- 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