Amish Tripathi, India’s First Literary Popstar launched his most awaited book, ‘SITA: The Warrior of Mithila’ amid an enthralling event hosted at Oberoi Mall, Goregaon, on May 29 in Mumbai, in association with Crossword Bookstores and the Oberoi Mall.
Sita: Warrior of Mithila is the second book of Amish’s Ramchandra Series. It was deemed as the most anticipated book of 2017 by landmark bookstores. To know more about the book and his writing process, we caught up with him at the launch event in Mumbai.
What inspired you to write about Sita?
Actually, the Ram Chandra series began at a literature fest. In 2013, after the ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’ my publisher and I signed the contract for a new series, but I did not know what my next subject would be. However, at the literature fest, someone came and spoke to me about Lord Ram. Now, there is nothing wrong in questioning our lords, in Vedic Sanskrit, there is no translation for English term ‘blasphemy’. But, it was the kinds of words that were being used that upset me. I was so upset that I decided that my next book would be on Lord Ram and those associated with him. That’s why this book.
How is this Sita (warrior of Mithila) different from the one that we have read in books or watched in TV series?
What you had till now … have you ever seen Sita Maa like this? (Pointing towards the poster of book cover, at the book launch event)
(Amish) No, right! This is actually a kidnapping scene. Here she is attacked by some hundred soldiers, and she is not some ‘Abla Nari’ who was just picked up. So, she is attacked by hundred soldiers, but she is an Alpha Female, so even when she is outnumbered, she will not be defensive, but she will charge. So she charges at them, kills the few and breaks the few head. However, she is outnumbered (100: 1) and hence she loses and gets kidnapped. Have you seen Sita Maa like this? People have seen her like this in ‘Adbhut Ramayan’, but not since last forty years; probably not! So this is new in the book.
You always portray strong women characters, unlike the popular versions of the story. Even here, ‘Sita’ has been titled as a ‘Warrior’; so how do you look at this in reference to the current situation of women in our country?
The current situation is actually against our ancient culture. I always say that those of us, who are fighting for women’s rights that men and women should be treated equally, are actually following our own culture. So fighting for women’s rights is not ‘less’ Indian, but ‘more’ Indian. It was our culture and the sad part is that we have forgotten it.
Your characters are so well sketched that the reader seems to connect with it instantly. Tell us about how you develop these characters? What research procedure or techniques you adopt?
I do not do research while writing because that distracts me. But anything that I do when I’m not writing is research. I read a lot, travel a lot and all that comes in to develop the characters.
Will Amish come out of the mythological genre?
Why not! I have written a non-fictional book, which is coming in mid-August, titled as ‘immortal India’ and also, I might write a historical fiction as well.
There is this one section of society who questions the origin of myths and mythologies. Raises doubts upon the relevance of them in contemporary time. What would you like to answer them?
No! I totally disagree with it. Our Myths are still alive. We are among the few ancient cultures, where ancient stories are still alive. People still believe in it. If you go to Greece today and ask them, do you believe in Zeus? They will say No. If you go to Egypt and ask them, do you believe in RA? They will say No. But in India, if you ask anyone, do you believe in Lord Shiva, Lord Rama? They will say Yes.
So according to you, these myths are still relevant and people still idealizes Lord Ram?
(Amish) Yeah yeah! Across the country.
Many aspiring authors admire and idealize Amish. However, who is that author to whom Amish admires and idealize?
I need too much to give an all time favorite. However, to answer this, from all the books I have read in past 2 to 3 months, I liked- Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Era of Darkness’, ‘The Ocean of Churn’ by Sanjeev Sanyal and ‘Sati’ by Meenakshi Jain.
About The Ramchandra Series: first book; ‘ The Scion of Ikshvaku’ narrated the story of Rama’s birth and childhood it ends at Sita’s abduction. The second book ‘Sita: Warrior of Mithila’ narrates the origin of the adopted daughter of King Janak and maps her rise from an orphan to a skilled warrior who became the prime minister of her father’s kingdom and will end at her abduction. The third book in the series will be narrated from the birth of Ravana to Sita’s kidnapping; after which the story will converge into a common narrative in the later books. Amish has used the multi-linear narrative technique.
We wish him luck for his new book. In case you missed the book launch here is the coverage of the event: