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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Guess what Jonty Rhodes is reading?

Most Bharatiya kids and teens who grew up in urban areas or Army cantonments, went to English-medium schools and were fond of reading would remember the staple fiction fare of the day – Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Sidney Sheldon, Mario Puzo, Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer etc. Stories set in Britain, US, Europe, revolving around Western society and motifs.

No wonder, we grew up knowing more about those places than we did about our own. Those with a taste for heavier fiction reading did have the option of Vikram Seths, Amitav Ghosh etc. among Indian writers, but then we know what lens most of them use to view Bharat (V.S. Naipaul being a notable exception).

Slowly over this last decade, the scene has evolved.

And one of the leading voices behind this renaissance is Amish Tripathi, who has hooked readers with his fast-paced, fictionalised rendering of Bharat’s ancient history and iconic figures. While the artistic license he has employed with sacred figures to pander to the modern zeitgeist has received valid criticism, and some of his views are debatable, he has helped reconnect many lost souls to their roots. Moreover, he has carved out a niche in global pop-culture for Hindu itihaas.

This was exemplified when famous South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, currently fielding coach of the IPL team KXIP, shared that he was a fan of Amish Tripathi and had just received his order of the author’s latest book – ‘Legend of Suheldev’

Ashwin Sanghi is another established writer in the historical fiction genre who has made his mark with books like The Krishna Key and Chanakya’s Chant.

Special mention must go to Professor Vamsee Juluri, an academic and author who has inspired several Hindus to look afresh at their legacy. Prof. Juluri, who teaches Media Studies at the University of San Francisco, is the author of books like Rearming Hinduism, Kishkindha Chronicles series and the must-read ‘Writing Across a Cracked World: Hindu Representation and the Logic of Narrative

We hope that this will inspire more and more Hindu writers to dive into our rich history and culture to proudly present our civilizational ethos in a contemporary manner. Already we are seeing a bunch of new writers making their mark and providing fiction to ordinary Hindus in a language, style and setting they can relate to:

Manoshi Sinha Rawal: Saffron Swords,  Blue Vanquisher: Krishn Trilogy 2,  The Eighth Avatar

Abhinav Aggarwal: Predators and Prey 

Roopa Pai: Taranauts series, The Gita: For Children

Saiswaroopa Iyer: Abhaya,  Draupadi

Now, what is missing is similar literature for teens and youth in regional Bharatiya languages like Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali etc. For all we know, such literature, short stories, fiction etc. might already exist and is just not publicised enough.

For eg., we recently learnt that the Union Home Minister, an avid reader, is a big fan of Gaurishanker Joshi, who wrote under the pen name Dhumketu, and was a brilliant Gujarati short story writer known for his novels on Chalukya dynasty, Gujarat’s Solanki era and the Gupta kingdom.

If you know the names of more such authors, please do share in the comments section!


11 AM, 16 Oct: Prof. Vamsee Juluri’s name was inadvertently missed in the original article post. We thank readers for pointing out this glaring miss through the comments section!

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