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Ancient caste system not attributed to one’s birth: Amish Tripathi

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New Delhi: When India is still in agony about the Dalit research scholar’s suicide, the best-selling author Amish Tripathi is trying to convey the message that in ancient India the caste system was not rigid and was not attributed to one’s birth.

Tripathi, who deftly weaves in threads on women’s empowerment and the caste system in his interpretations of Indian mythologies, preferred to reserve his judgement on the Hyderabad University issue since it’s under investigation.

But he concedes that oppression continues despite the progress country has made in the last almost 70 years since independence.

Rohith Vemula’s death on January 17 in Hyderabad University after being suspended for allegedly assaulting an ABVP leader has resulted in mass protests across India.

“As far as specific incidents are concerned, learning from the Delhi church attacks and Ranaghat nun rape case (in West Bengal), it turned out the incidents were not how they were portrayed; so we should stay calm and wait for an investigation to conclude.

“At a broader level, there is no doubt oppression does take place. We have made improvements in the last 70 years but there is still a long way to go,” Tripathi, who burst onto the scene in 2010 with the popular Shiva trilogy, said in an interview during the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.

The banker-turned-writer had some huge success like “The Immortals of Meluha”, “The Secret of the Nagas” and “The Oath of the Vayuputras”  based on Shiva trilogy. His latest “Scion of Ikshvaku” is the first book in the Ram Chandra series – his take on the Indian epic Ramayana. The second book is in progress and talks are on for movie adaptations.

“In my books, I actually speak about the caste system. If you see the genetic research that is coming out, it’s very clear the caste system was not based on birth. In ancient times it was not rigid,” the 41-year-old IIM-Calcutta alumnus contended.

As examples, he says Maharishi Valmiki who wrote the Valmiki Ramayana was not Brahmin born.

“The Maharishi who composed the Mahabharata, who compiled the Vedas, was not born a Brahmin, he was born to a fisherwoman. He became a Brahmin… not just a Brahmin… he became a rishi (sage),” Tripathi underlined.

In addition to the textual proof, he also lays strong emphasis on current genetic research.

“Research shows till around 1,900 to 2,000 years ago, there was heavy intermingling in India between all groups. That’s the first sign of caste system… there is no inter-marrying. Something happened between 1,500 to 2,000 years ago when the inter-marrying stopped. So some people assume that is when the caste system became rigid.

“In ancient times, most of the evidence points to the fact that the caste system was actually not rigid and that is what I am trying to bring out in my books. It was not based on birth. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna clearly says: I created the four varnas based on ‘guna’ and ‘karma’ based on your attributes and on your karma, not on birth.”

Ascribing his knowledge of mythology and scriptures to his family (his paternal grandfather was a pandit and taught at Banaras Hindu University, his maternal grandmother was also a teacher), Tripathi admits his love for India doesn’t mean he can turn a blind eye to issues that need to be dealt with.

“I am a deep patriot. I love my country but I also believe patriotism should not blind us to the things that need to be improved and, of course, one doesn’t like to be told about our country by Westerners, most of them likely have no love for our country; they just want to come and judge us.

“There’s a difference in the attitude of someone who deeply loves his or her own country and there are things which he feels needs to improve,” Tripathi signed off.(IANS)

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Twinkle Khanna: A Writer Needs an Inflated Sense of Self-worth While Writing

Late Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia's elder daughter Twinkle is married actor Akshay Kumar, They have a son, Aarav and a daughter, Nitara

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Twinkle Khanna, Wikimedia Commons

Actress-turned-author Twinkle Khanna feels a writer needs an inflated sense of self-worth while writing.

“I strongly believe in the power of being the moron. I wrote about it last week. People who think about their stupidity are often the most intelligent because it is only the truly dumb who are convinced of their smartness. The ones who are secretly wondering if they are idiots are the ones who know that there is so much to know that they clearly don’t know enough. If you have understood this sentence and if you are clearly a moron like me, you are a prime example of an oxymoron,” declared Twinkle, while interacting with the media at Crossword Book Awards 2020.

She was accompanied by lifestyle coach and motivational speaker Gaur Gopal Das and philanthropist Sudha Murty at the event.

At the event, Twinkle received the Crossword Book Award (Popular) for Fiction for the book ‘Pyjamas Are Forgiving’.

Twinkle Khanna
Important for women to become financially independent: Twinkle Khanna. Flickr

Sharing her thoughts on winning the award, Twinkle said: “I am thankful to Crossword for this award. I may not deserve it but I didn’t deserve a name like Twinkle either (laughs). It’s not that the names I have come up with since then have been any better — like Mrs Funnybones and even Baba Twink Dev. Now I have to coin yet another monicker, if for nothing else then to say that I am following the path of Susan Swanton who said that ‘a writer has to be four people — a nut, a moron, a stylist and a critic’. Now nut comes easy to me. It’s the path that dreams up all these ideas and then puts this unfiltered nonsense and regurgitates it on to paper which masquerades as my first draft.”

Twinkle said a writer needs to have an inflated sense of self-worth while writing. “(Being a) Stylist is, I guess, the difference between using a word like regurgitate instead of vomit. (On being a) critic, this is the most important part because a writer needs to have an inflated sense of self-worth while they are writing, to feel that what they are saying is worthy of someone else’s attention. Then they have to have the ability to put their ego aside, look at that work objectively and, yes, listen to the editors, take their suggestion, and incorporate them, because I think that is the most important (thing) a writer needs to do,” she said.

Also Read: Disney+ Grosses Nearly $100mn on Mobile in its First 2 Months

“Pyjamas Are Forgiving” is a 2018 Indian fiction novel published by Juggernaut Books. The story is narrated by Anshu, a middle-aged woman who is suffering from sleep disorder.

Late Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia’s elder daughter Twinkle is married actor Akshay Kumar, They have a son, Aarav and a daughter, Nitara. (IANS)