Revisiting Ramayana through Oppositional Telling of Anand Neelakantan’s Asura: Tale of the Vanquished (2012)
Keywords:Ramayana, oppositional telling, subaltern studies, autonomy
The Ramayana is a well-known epic in India. It is also widely recognized in many other regions around the world. The myriad forms of presentation of this epic allow for a collective audience’s imagination to thrive and rise. Oppositional tellings of the original storyline make the epic even more intriguing as it caters to the ‘other voices’, who have alternative opinions of Rama and who happen to perceive the epic from differing ideological positions that are in contrast to the original version. Through the Ramayana’s oppositional telling, this article is an attempt to represent the identity of Asura (the Deva’s enemy) and also to demystify Rama’s goodness by analyzing the portrayals of the two main characters, Ravana and Bhadra, in Anand Neelakantan’s popular novel, Asura: Tale of the Vanquished (2012). Employing a subaltern studies approach and concepts of autonomy and lack of, the study reveals that Rama’s goodness is in question as it merely reflects a Brahminical worldview that actually stands in contrast with those of the Asuras and other non-Brahmin-Hindu believers.
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