Once you cross 40, your vision starts deteriorating. First comes the reading glasses. A little later comes the fact that your eyes feel so strained, you have to put your book (or Kindle) down every now and then. The days when you could stay up all night reading an unputdownable book are also now behind you.
In such a scenario, a book that still stays unputdownable sends you into a rapture of delight.
Amish Tripathi take a bow. Because Scion of Ikshvaku is one such book. For more reason than one.
First and foremost, Scion of Ikshvaku is written so well that it is a page-turner. Of course, it helps to be an Indian reading the book as The Ramayana is much beloved, familiar ground. Having said that, I have no doubt in my head that this book will have an international audience.
But perhaps, the more important reason Scion of Ikshvaku is a must-read book by people all over the globe is the fact that Amish Tripathi has used an ancient, classic epic and rendered it relevant to modern-day issues.
That’s the central thought that repeatedly went across my mind while reading the book: “My God, Amish Tripathi has written a twenty-first century Ramayana.”
Or perhaps, the progress of humanity has been at best superficial and the issues that plagued Ram and Sita continue to this day.
Either which way, the Scion of Ikshvaku tackles grave issues of human civilisation.
Allow me to illustrate. Currently, we are living in an increasingly polarised world on religious lines. Right?
Well, listen to this discourse (paraphrased) between Prince Ram and Arishtanemi, Vishwamitra’s Military Chief.
Ram says, “The problem lies in the way they look upon the Ekam (The One God). We’ve been told that the Ekam lives beyond our world of illusion…beyond gunas, the characteristics of created things…If the Ekam is beyond all this, how can He pick a side…If He is beyond form then how can He have a preference for any one form? He can, therefore, never belong to any one specific group. He belongs to all, and at the same time, to none.”
Arishtanemi nods, “This fundamental misunderstanding between our world of forms, and the Ekam’s formless world, makes them believe in the lie that my God is the true God and your God is a false God.”
Amish also cleverly addresses the still raging issue of gender equality. When asked what he is looking for in a girl, Ram tells his brothers:
“I want a woman, not a girl…Love is secondary….I want someone whom I can respect….A relationship is not just for fun, it is also about trust and the knowledge that you can depend on your partner…I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want a woman who is better than I am; a woman who will compel me to bow my head in admiration.”
And that is exactly what Ram does when he encounters Sita courageously fighting with a man in Mithila. He bows his head in admiration and respect.
In Amish’s book, Sita is no subservient lady. She is Mithila’s Prime Minister and when she marries Ram, she is his equal in the marriage.
It’s not just issues of God, religion and gender equality that Amish covers in his journey across time. He also tackles and provokes thoughtfulness on political science, governance, democracy and issues of law.
That’s what makes Scion of Ikshvaku a book that should be read by concerned citizens everywhere. And that’s why I fervently hope that the book will soon be translated in other languages. Especially Indian languages.
Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed the read and found value, do check out God is in Us. The Devil is in the Details and G2G: God to God! May I also request that you help spread the good word in this post? All you need to do is take a second and click on any one of the Social Media buttons here. Of course, I would also be delighted if you subscribed to my blog site. Or connected with me via LinkedIn or Twitter where I regularly publish my posts on my feed:)
Featured Cover Image Credit: Scion of Ikshvaku – Book Cover Shot from her Kindle by Lata Subramanian.