Thursday, 4 February 2021

Does content in literature change the equations? An opinion

Julius Caesar might be appealing to the world with an opinion that he was a powerful personality and a statesman of repute. However, to a reader sitting in India, Caesar is nowhere near the characters from our history like Bhishma Pitamah and King Bharat. At the same time, the world might rejoice the outstanding skills at war displayed by Achilles, the great Greek warrior who single-handedly veered across the lines during the mythological Trojan War. However, can he be a warrior as force as Arjuna or Karna for an Indian? I am sure the answer should be NO! And this is why, we must agree, the context matters. The environment, with all its pros and cons, blacks and whites and oranges, does have an impact upon our ideals, choices and values that we ascribe to people and things.

And this is why, perhaps, Indian authors like Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi, has taken up the task of bringing our own heroes, with very much of the Indian values intact, to the fore and offering their characters and qualities, with a fictional coating, to us in the form of books, novels and even movies. And no doubt, the Indian audience will love this thing!

The spread of knowledge and the undeterred flow of communication, messages, cultural exchanges and so on... things have changed and can know about the fallen civilisations just by a click of the mouse. However, there is a thing that we call tradition and conscious comes after that. A person raised in a very religious family will seldom find examples from different walks of life because in India, Hinduism is far more diverse and deep compared to any other religious, spiritual, anarchic and any other system of beliefs and ideas... we have Arjuna and Karna, Bhim and Hanuman, Ram and Krishna, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh... and Indian novelists bringing out these themes to the readers is certainly a very positive sign for us that ultimately, it is our own civilisation that has come back to keep us entertained and enlightened.

However, one thing needs to be noted that the authors who change the ideas or the core or the source code of such characters or ideals must be very careful about such things. A change that is not valid cannot be accepted and it will be rejected by the Masses. For example, someone portraying Krishna as an egoistic man will certainly be opposed by the readers who have grown up with a very devotional affection towards Krishna. And the history, the religion and the records all confirm that Krishna was far more superior or the most superior person ever born!

In short, when the authors tend to utilise the context and the characters associated with it, they must be very careful and concerned. The readers will enjoy their content more than the content by others featuring the characters and themes which are not native to us.

By Rupesh for Book Reviews Web

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