Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ashok Banker - The Mythology Man

Mythological Stories are the part of every culture’s folklore and have a special place and significance in introducing the younger generation to the morals and values of their ancients and the Hindus are no different. The ancient Indian civilization was the hot bed of cultural, philosophical and scientific thoughts and these facts are well known throughout the world.

What’s not very well known is the scale of Indian mythology. In a generation and time obsessed by everything western, it’s very easy to forget the very rich school of thought inculcated by the Indian Mythological stories.

The world’s longest poem “The Mahabharatha”, the spiritual thought espoused by “The Bhagavat Gita”, the stories of Ayodhyan Prince Rama are just a few examples known throughout the world.

Children in my generation learnt about these works on the laps of their doting parents and grand-parents and through popular serials like “Ramayana” & “Mahabharatha”. It was sheer joy and pleasure to know and understand these stories of exemplary courage, devotion, brotherhood, friendship and so on. These epics taught me to see the world not in terms of black and white but in shades of grey. While it taught me that War is the ultimate reality, every effort that can be made to foster peace should be made before embarking on War and once you embark on War there should be no mercy, no empathy for the enemy until they are dead or defeated.

I missed those great days when these stories enriched my life and gave me new avenues of thought. But no more… There is hope on the horizon for the next generation of children to learn about these towering figures in the history. One Indian writer has embarked on a journey so enormous that it will take a lifetime to complete. It will be a journey of perseverance through odds but if anybody can pull it off it would be him.

Who? You ask. Ashok Banker – I say.

He is the Indian Mythology Man. The world has always been fascinated with Alexander the Great, Ptolemy, Rameses, Herod and so on... the list of Greek, Persian and Egyptian Kings is well known and well documented; so let me not regurgitate these names about which so much has already been written and so much more is being written.

Indian history on the other hand is not so well known or well complied, but that does not mean we lack great kings or that the achievements of these kings are any less significant that those mentioned above.

For example the King Sudas and his victory against the combined army and might of ten kings led by Anu in the battle of Dasarajna is a classical David vs. Goliath story. Just because it has been extensively document does not mean that is less of an achievement. It was this victory that laid to the foundation of the Bharata nation. Similar is the stories of the kings from the southern India like Raja Raja, Krishnadeva Raya, the Chola  and the Pandya kings of the old who lead their conquests far into the heartlands of Thailand and Indonesia. It is really very sad that we no longer remember these figures or are even taught about them but even today our history lesson are fraught with British conquest and Congress-led independence movement due to which we are aware of every British Viceroy of India starting from the East India Company to Mountbatten of British Empire.

Well I digress.. talking about Ashok Banker and his retelling of Indian Mythology, the Ramayana Series has won him the rave accolades and also got his books on the first 3 spots of the bestselling books on the internet list, Ashok Banker has embarked on an endeavor that will take an entire lifetime to complete.

He is planning on writing an Epic India Library comprising of more than 70 books and which can be categorized into Mythology, Itihasa, History and Future History.

The Mythology sections retelling of popular Indian Epic on a global scale like
  1. Ramayana (8 Books in all, all released) 
  2. Krishna Coriolis (8 Books in all, 7 Books released so far on the website)
The Itihasa section contains:
  1. Mahabharatha (18 books in total, 2 released so far on his website) As per the latest on this the Mahabharatha will now be a Pentalogy comprising all the 18 books into 5 Volumes. 
The History sections contains:
  1. Dasarajna (released).It has now been re-released as Ten Kings
  2. Mahavira
  3. Siddhartha
  4. Mauryavansh
  5. Ashoka
  6. Delhi Sultanate
  7. The Moghuls
  8. Saffron White Green
The Future History section contains:
  1. Vertigo
  2. Gods of War
  3. The Kali Quarter
  4. Saffron White Green
The full information about Askok's complete collection of books (released and to be released) can be found on his website

1 comment:

  1. Hes a superb author..I envy the research and knowledge that man has about History..wonder where he gathers them from.Plus,the way he presents the stories..make us read them again and again..

    Thank you for introducing me this author..