Rama of the Axe: The Epic Saga of Parshurama
Author: Ranjith Radhakrishnan
Cover designer: Nithin Kumblekar
Genre: Historical Fiction (I refuse to call it ‘mythology’, it is our history, not a myth)
Published by Westland Books
MRP: Rs. 499/-
Thank you @westlandbooks for a media copy.
Parashurama, an important figure in Hindu Itihas, holds a significant place in the Hindu tradition and is revered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His story and exploits are mentioned in various Hindu scriptures, including the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and the Puranas.
Parashurama's importance stems from his unique role as a warrior, sage, and teacher. He is known as the "Warrior Brahmin" because he belonged to the Brahmin caste but possessed exceptional martial skills. Parashurama is often depicted wielding an axe, known as Parashu, which became his signature weapon. He is considered the embodiment of power, valor, and discipline.
Rama of the axe is an effort to write about the deity’s story in a fictionalized manner, which may appeal to the youth. Unlike some bizarre recent attempts to mock our Itihas; coughs *Adipurush* coughs; this is a genuinely amazing attempt. This will genuinely appeal to the younger readers who read fantasy like a Song of Ice and Fire and Mistborn, the first two chapters which I read on my kindle as a sample, were enough to get me hooked.
An earnest, reflective, calm, and supremely fit mortal named Parashurama, né Ramabhadra, is introduced. He also gives off the impression of being innocent in a childlike manner. With the imagery the author uses to describe the surroundings and the jungle, one can almost see it in their minds. The imagery is definitely not delicate, delicate, and timid; it is also wild, deep, and ominous. This is true throughout the entire book, and the author's use of language makes it easy to visualise the plot and its setting in great detail.
Sanskrit terms are almost scattered across every page, but Indians would have no issue understanding them in the vast majority of cases because they are a part of their everyday speech, whether it be in Hindi or any other regional language. Although a foreign reader of this book may need to look up the meanings of the Sanskrit words, doing so will only improve and enrich his or her knowledge of the story rather than a crude translation. After all, reading a book from a particular culture should be a fully immersing experience. Sanskrit also does that. It provides a fully immersing understanding of Bharatiya heritage and culture to one who explores its complex and varied meanings.
The word "brahmakshatriya," which is used to describe Parashurama, is given a whole new meaning by the author. The author goes beyond this and imbues the word with more meaning. The usual meaning of this word is that the person being referred to is a Brahmin plus a Kshatriya. At one point during the battle with the asuras that he fought on the side of the devas, Parashurama stops and concentrates his yogic powers to cause his axe—a divine gift from Mahadeva, his ishta—to perform a tremendous feat that kills every asura on the opposing side.
Although a few storylines seem unfinished, the book concludes with a promise of a sequel, suggesting that these loose ends might be addressed in the next instalment. If you want to make something for the current generation, this is how you do it. Here’s looking at you Om Raut and Manoj Muntashir!
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