Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Scion of Ikshvaku By Amish Tripathi (Ram Chandra Series, #1)

There are few stories from the past which have been retold in so many different ways that people even in the deepest darkest corners understand about their existence. Ramayana and Mahabharata are among the very few. Their purpose is to keep alive the sanctity of these people of past and pass it on from one generation to another. Passing on the virtues and path of righteousness and learning of the wise. Author Amish Tripathi in his book "Scion of Ikshvaku" has taken fond of Ramayana and let it be remolded into a passionate affair for the readers. So what does he brings to the table? Let's find out. 

Ram Rajya. The Perfect Land. But perfection has a price. He paid that price.
Ayodhya is weakened by divisions. A terrible war has taken its toll. The damage runs deep. The demon King of Lanka, Raavan, does not impose his rule on the defeated. He, instead, imposes his trade. Money is sucked out of the empire. The Sapt Sindhu people descend into poverty, despondency and corruption. They cry for a leader to lead them out of the morass. Little do they appreciate that the leader is among them. One whom they know. A tortured and ostracised prince. A prince they tried to break. A prince called Ram.
He loves his country, even when his countrymen torment him. He stands alone for the law. His band of brothers, his Sita, and he, against the darkness of chaos.
Will Ram rise above the taint that others heap on him? Will his love for Sita sustain him through his struggle? Will he defeat the demon Lord Raavan who destroyed his childhood? Will he fulfill the destiny of the Vishnu?
Begin an epic journey with Amish's latest- the Ram Chandra Series.

First look at the title and the cover and it looks provoked and anguish. A tout frame, a vimana in the air and forests set up the peculiar image of Ram. The title provides the melody. The blurb narrates the incidents of the past where Ram Rajya was famous in Ayodhya and Sapta Sindhu was powerful. It was ruled by humans and demons. So what changed the course of time is what the blurb is trying to suggest to the readers. 

Ayodhya has been ruled by a wise king. But his wisdom abandons him and he finds himself weakened by demon king Raavan over time. His family wants a heir and soon he finds himself father of four. It's up to Guru Vashishtha to train the young kids into able leaders and ruthless warriors. But among them hides a righteous person. Ram is different from the others and his destiny is marred by birth. So what will it take to change the outlook towards him? How life surrounding him evolve? How will he resurrect himself from the pains of taunts? Will Ram ever be able to prove his worth to his belligerent father? Only the course of time will tell. 

Ramayana along with Mahabharata left some important learnings of life. A person leans on to Ramayana for peace and the correct course of leading life. For the laws of that time are imbibed and reciprocated and passed on from one generation to another. From the hands of wrong till the womb of right it's a journey of peril, pain, anguish and patience. It's a survival guide against adversaries hidden in plain veil or unknown distant enemies. The story is about control on oneself and treatment met out at the hands of commoners and lords. The book revolves around reviving the epic into a fresh lease of literature. Care has been taken to let each and every word speak for itself and let characters stroll around with freedom. Liberal as well as strict in nature it justifies the very existence of Ramayana. Narration is vivid and surreal and is not lost on a reader. 

The downside of the book is its failure to let everybody off the hook. The end looks pale and seems to be hurried upon. A calm demeanor misplaced by the mishaps of story and suddenly giving it a whirlwind approach. The author in the flow has covered a bit too much for the liking and literally covering Ramayana's important incidents like all in one book. For the series to be alive more voice should be lent to people other than Ram. Their existence justifying their essence which is found missing in this part. Retelling the known till the end with very little new is another drawback of the story.

All in all Ramayana has been revived with a mission on hand. It's to connect people to the core of the story, substantiating it's presence and giving fair privilege to all characters. The book marches on the known territories gleefully and yet finds itself wanting in certain areas of fresh lease. There is a certain tempo maintained and that itself gives the book a very settled outlook. The end looks unsettled but there's still scope for amends. The story has been revived, the epic being retold and with bated breath readers await the future parts to see what unfolds. It's a warm start with a cautious approach. The connection is made, only sustenance is the big question in the future. 


3 OUT OF 5

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