Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: Ravana Leela by Radha Viswanath

Introduction

Source: Amazon.in
ISBN: 978-8129149039

Genre: Fiction / Mythology

Publishers: Rupa Publishing

Price: Rs. 295/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
Behind the Book

Ravana, perhaps the most popular Rakshasa in Indian mythology, is known as the villain in the Ramayana and the epic would not have been what it is without this great Rakshasa.

Yet Ravana is much more than a mere abductor. Born out of the union of a Rishi and Rakshasi, a devout Shiv-bhakt and a mighty king, Ravana is no ordinary Rakshasa.

This book attempts to bring out a comprehensive and well-rounded character of Ravana. The various little dots of information about the Rakshasa king as given in Valmiki Ramayana have been picked with care, collated and compared with presentations in several other versions of the Ramayana, and the long, hoary lineage of the demon king painstakingly put together to present this villain of villains as a legend worthy of greater attention.
*Praise for the Book*

A twisting, intricate tale that puts the spotlight on what made Ravana who he was—a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a scholar, a king and also, an abductor. Ravanaleela is a fascinating journey into the making of this legendary Rakshasa.—AYUSHMANN KHURRANA

Ravana comes alive in this imaginative first novel by Radha Viswanath. I know that Ravanaleela will stay on my book shelf for long.—RANNVIJAY SINGHA

Interesting insight into the lineage of Ravana—the original villain of Indian mythology. You will want to read it again and again.—KARANVIR BOHRA

About the Author
Radha Viswanath was born in Andhra Pradesh and spent most of her life in Delhi. Trained as a teacher, Radha entered journalism late in life. After a distinguished career as a political correspondent spanning three decades, she retired from active journalism. She has the honour of being the first woman journalist to be admitted in the long and distinguished category of parliamentary journalists, in 2006.

An avid reader with a keen interest in Hindu mythology, she aims to bring the complexities of the Indian political discourse into intricate and rich mythological narratives.


When it comes to Indian mythology, I think the challenge for every author is to be able to tell us something different than what we have already been listening to since childhood. Having grown up on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata we already have a preconceived opinion about the good and the bad in these stories. For me, this notion was challenged first when I read Asura by Anand Neelkanthan and now after reading this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book for many reasons. The first being where the author shows us Ravana not as the mighty ruler of Lanka but as a son, a brother and a husband. It is always said our childhood has a huge role to play in shaping us up as grown up individuals. Reading this book, I somehow could connect the dots as to what could have led to him being the head strong person that he was. A Shiv Bhakt he has been known as someone who is stubborn since childhood.

The language is lucid making the descriptions come alive. The research of the author shows in the narrative as each and every thing is told so much in depth that there were many places I went "Wow! I didnt know this aspect of his life." Many times it happens when we concentrate on one aspect of the story many of the other characters are reduced to just add to the plot. That is what happens in the main story of Ramayana. But here Ravana has the centre stage with everyone else in supporting roles. We needed to see this aspect of his, to realise that one action doesn't define an individual.

I would like to give the author brownie points for the beginning of the novel. Not only the scene but also the presentation of it is simply superb. Reading this book reminded me of my grandfather to whom I owe the love for stories. I could hear him read the beginning in my mind and thereafter the whole book became a heartwarming read for me.

Strongly recommended for all mythology lovers and also for people who enjoy telling stories to their children. This is one story that needs to be told, again and again.
Foodie Verdict
 
This book is like Satpadi Rotli - Deliciousness filled in every layer, unraveling a unique taste!

Source: Finely Chopped

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