New Delhi: Noted writer Anand Neelakantan has described India as a land of inequality and has said that even though the concept of equality has always been there in the country, it has never been put to practise. Neelkantan, who is the writer of the famous “Baahubali” series, explores some unknown stories hidden in epics and scriptures. His new book “Vanara: The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara” tells the honour, love, jealousy and betrayal we seldom read of.
“India is a land of inequality. The concept of equality was always there in Indian thought but never in practice. In my novel, ‘Vanara’, Kishkinda is established as a place of equal opportunities. One of the subplots of the story is how this city so established with such lofty ideals slowly descended to become a highly unequal society, mirroring present-day India. “The entire caste system evolved as a tool of grading people and treating people unequally. Whatever arguments one may say about caste or Jaati differing from Varna etc, in practice, for at least 2,000 years, the discrimination on the basis of caste and creed has existed in India and the same continues to hold India back from evolving into a modern society,” the 45-year-old author told IANS. He maintained that in India discrimination based on religion, caste, language, economic condition and the colour of the skin is a practise.
“One cannot shut our eyes to this reality and talk only about glorious things of our nation. Real patriotism is accepting our faults and working to rectify the same rather than blind glorification of anything related to religion, country or culture,” he said. Neelakantan said that the interest in Puranas for an average Indian had never waned and emphasised that the Puranas have always played an important role in Indian psyche.
“Why it looks so amplified is because of the power of social media, 24 X 7 news channels. Even Gandhiji used the concept of Ramarajya in the freedom struggle. Puranas were once used to teach people how to live. Storytelling is a powerful tool of conveying ideas and the rich stories of Puranas were used to make the knowledge of Vedas and Upanishads in an accessible format for the common man. Once, it was a tool to unite people like how Gandhiji did. It is unfortunate that some people are using such age-old tales to divide people for selfish gains,” said the author. (IANS)