Sofiya Shah

Sub Editor -

Book Review: Asura – Tale of the Vanquished

When I first heard about this book, I was really eager to know the other side of the story. Its cover clearly mentions that it’s about Ravana and his people. We all have read the Ramayana and how Lord Rama defeated Ravana. But this book will give you an insight into Ravana’s life and his kingdom.

The term ‘Dasamukha’ depicting the ten evils that everyone should overcome, is contradicted by Ravana in the book. He was ambitious and proud of his race and empire that he had built. He considered jealousy, anger and selfishness as the driving force for making progress. But at the same time he considered love as the king of all emotions, which Mahabali thought was make-belief. His love for his country, his subjects and family made him a great ruler.

Another important character of the book is Bhadra, a poor Asura, who is loyal to his king. He is often misunderstood by Ravana but nevertheless serves for his king and the kingdom.

The book revolves around these two characters and their perception about life, their race, culture and country. Difference is that, while Ravana shows us the life of a king and the working of a kingdom, Bhadra show us the life of a common man for whom survival is an eternal struggle.

Some might find the plot going tedious sometimes with the never ending battles and issues related to governance in Ravana’s kingdom, but one has to read between the lines to understand the philosophy of life, earth and universe that has been profoundly narrated by the two characters.

The author has used simple words and sentences to make it easy to understand the complexities of history, religion and mythology.

Ravana who is always considered a ‘Rakshasa’ is found to be an ordinary human being who goes through the drama of life. He is a proud Asura who doesn’t follow any God or superstitions. He believes in himself and the fact that with ambition and hard work anyone can achieve their goals. The remarkable thing depicted about the character Ravana is that he accepts all his mistakes and asks for forgiveness from his subjects. And yet keeps the poise and pride of being the ruler of Lanka.

Bhadra on the other hand, gives voice to the common people who are lost between the heroes or the kings. People like Bhadra are the most affected by any regime change or economic problems. He is also a proud Asura who goes at great lengths to protect his race and country from the Deva rule. Even though he is poor, he manages to enjoy the luxury of pondering over life and universe.

The historical events mentioned in the book like abduction of Sita or the battle in Lanka are interesting to read from both Ravana’s and Bhadra’s perspective.

I highly recommend this book as it will give you a viewpoint of the people who lost their race and culture at the hands of his king. Also it depicts Ravana, not as a demon but a great ruler who loved his subjects and as an ordinary human being whose one mistake changed the course of history.

Author of the Book: Anand Neelakantan

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt.Ltd


  1. Geetha Sunil Pillai says

    I found the read interesting but deviating from the traditional belief and regarding Ravana as a hero seems impractical. As a fiction, no doubt the author has done a commendable effort. For those who have a taste for mythological thrillers, The Krishna Key, Shiva Triology too can prove better choices.

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