In India, which is the biggest market of literature in the world, books carry more than just words. Books become sentiments; books transform into the vessels for ideologies and agendas (positive as well as negative); books are worshipped (the ones which really deserve to be worshipped). So, authors do understand, in India, how to get their books to reflect more than just sentences and plots and themes. Authors like Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi have taken a different course and, at the same time, novelists like Chitra Banerjee and Devdutt Pattanaik have taken a different course. However, their agenda is simple – get their books to maximum readers and never leave any possible loophole that can hinder their business. Yes, it’s business at the end of the day and figures of sales are counted very earnestly.
Amish Tripathi has a very clear path. He glorifies what needs to be glorified but he does insert his own versions between this and that to ensure there is a certain amount of controversial element involved; this is done dexterously to ensure that readers don’t only appreciate what they read but also raise their eyebrows and tell others what ‘wrong’ has this author done. Out of curiosity, anyone would certainly want to have a look what has Amish done. What does it bring? Business at the end of the day – a possible sale or a possible person who knows who, what, why and how of an author.
On the other hand, authors like Devdutt Pattanaik and Chitra Banerjee try to forge the iron of mythological text into the shapes they want, rather perverted shapes, to ensure that they find ‘follies’ or subconscious loopholes in the texts to degenerate or confuse the actual picture. For example, showing that Draupadi had a love for Karna, secret sexual desires, will only confuse the readers who have no clue of original Mahabharat… this is their main motive as well as motif behind their works. They play with the very source of their works, inspirations of their novels or otherwise book.
Only one author, as it seems to me, has been able to strike a perfect balance between fiction and fact is Ashwin Sanghi. He has been able to produce some of the most remarkable works, fictional in nature, that do not try to obfuscate the mythology of India as well as bring immense reading pleasure to the readers. It is, however, a very rare scenario in the context of Indian literature. Here, most of the authors are writing either pure waste in the name of literature or being a propagandist for various reasons. When it comes down to mythological fiction, you cannot expect things to be crystal clear. Everyone has their money invested on the stocks owned by some devil – here and there…
Well, as long as readers enjoy their works and there is a market for their works, nothing is going to change. Once readers get bored with the same dish served with different names and price tags, there will be too many questions waiting to be answered by these warriors with pen…
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Written by a contributor