Book Review: The prince of Ayodhya

01 Aug 2012

‘The Prince of Ayodhya’ was lent to me by a very interesting lady. Was a bit surprised when she said: “Keep it for as long as you like, am not very fond of it”. Read with such low expectations, the book should have been …‘not disappointing’. It wasn’t.

The author (Ashok Banker) has taken too many liberties with the portrayal of certain characters - one I felt especially sad for was Kaikeyi - whom he depicts as a woman of loose morals and as one who sleeps around all the time. I thought the original was a much more sympathetic (and interesting) depiction of the lady’s character - as an ambitious woman who is misled by bad advice.

There are other things wrong too - Ram, who in every version so far, is shown as someone who in today’s times would probably be considered a prig is shown in this book teasing Lakshman (whom he calls Luck, Shatrugan becomes … yes Shot!) about naked princesses.

There are also some very large liberties taken with other names and the storyline - I got the impression this was to make the book sell in western countries. An Indian “Lord of the Rings” if you will.

Anyway, the outcome is a badly written book - one I don’t recommend at all. Anyone who’s read the Ramayana will find this book disappointing and some, if religious, might even find it offensive.