So, finally, I read Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta. I was overwhelmed after reading this book. Not because of the fascinating plot and content of the book, but the amount of research Amish Tripathi has done (like in his other books too) in combing history with deceptive realism and giving it a contemporary look. As one of the prominent contemporary fiction writers of India, Amish’s efforts are praiseworthy. His work has honed with every book he published since his first novel Immortals of Meluha. This book has been lauded by leading and top book bloggers in India… we will know more about the novel in this review article.
The third book of the Ramachandra series Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta chronicles tales of Raavan, son of Rishi Vishrava, but from a distinct perspective – from when he was born till the time he kidnaps Sita Mata. As the novelist is an expert in revisionism of historical characters and embodying them in the modern scenario, in this book too he tries to put forth another side of Raavan. He refuses to describe the character of Raavan as evil. He says he was Adharmi, but Adharm, in Vedic Sanskrit, does not mean evil. However, here, Amish seems to be disagreeing with Sri Krishna himself. I am not sure who has given him this authority to redefine Sanskrit words and create a very own version of the language that he can use to qualify his fantasies.
I love the way Amish re-interpreted the character of Sita in the second book of Ramchandra series Sita, Warrior of Mithila. Unlike other novelists, Amish portrayed Sita not just as the wife of Shri Ram nor as a helpless woman who seeks male support to keep herself safe from enemies, but as a warrior! How pleasing the thought is. So, it naturally raised my expectation from the character Raavan in Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta. However, in doing so, Amish Tripathi seems to transcend the fictional liberties that an author should enjoy and he, almost, whitewashes all the sins by Raavan in his episodes. Is that justified? One has to ask.
We always remember Raavan who abducted Sita Mata and eventually was killed by Shri Ram. However, how often do we talk about the great king of Lanka – Lankadhipati Raavan? Amish has put in the limelight the unheard side of Raavan, as a genuine scholar, great musician, a brilliant artist, a fierce warrior, a sincere devotee of Lord Shiv and an ardent lover. In every nook and cranny of the book, Raavan’s suffering, after losing the only woman he loved, is inveterate and appalling. It initiated a relentless battle within him, left him sightless. He was unable to find a way to get peace. While on the outside, he becomes the world’s wealthiest man – powerful, cruel and ruthless.
Additionally, what catches my attention the most was the portrayal of Kumbhakaran, Raavan’s younger brother, always overlooked personality in spite of his great contribution not in Raavan’s life but in the epic Ramayan too. Amidst the tides of Raavan’s life, the author has lucidly and significantly depicted Khumbhakaran’s life by dedicating a separate storyline to it.
To conclude, Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta is a well-researched (with certain question marks) and beautifully narrated book. The book will refresh your old memories of epic Ramayan. And if you haven’t heard or seen the epic before, this book would definitely succeed in taking you days of 3400 BCE (this is again doubtful as our former president Dr Kalam had other ideas in terms of dating back Ramayan and the birth of Sri Rama in Ayodhya) when the entire event had actually happened. But for this, I would suggest you read the first two books of this series for a broader understanding of the events as well as the characters. Also, if after reading this book you think that Raavan was an all-good and a saintly scholar who became ruthless and powerful just to satisfy his thirst for fame, you should read the real character of Raavan or at least read about him in the sketches that Sri Valmiki made of him in his verse, in Ramayan. This book is a book of fiction and SHOULD NOT be taken seriously to judge a character such as Raavan.
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Review by Nidhi for Egoistic Readers
Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta | Book Review
- Egoistic Reader's Rating
Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta is a well-written but a well-thought researched novel by Amish Tripathi. Though he tries to qualify this lopsided retelling of Raavana’s story, he misses many points and he brings no factual evidence to back his fantasy! For the readers, it may well be a treat seeing their anti-hero rise to glory!