Key to India’s Immortality? Author Amish Says It is Balance


India’s top-selling author Amish Trivedi’s latest book is “Immortal India”. Amish spoke to a large gathering of his fans at the University of Houston with Sunanda Vashisht serving as the moderator.

By Pramod Kulkarni

HOUSTON: India’s latest literary phenom is Amish Tripathi. His mythological series, “The Shiva Trilogy” and “Ram Chandra Series” have garnered a tremendous following among India’s youth as well as mature audiences.

Amish’s latest book is non-fiction, “Immortal India”, which is a compilation of his articles and speeches relating to a discussion of why the Indian civilization continues to thrive while other ancient civilizations such as those of Rome, Babylon, Egypt and Incas have long disappeared.

Amish discussed aspects of immortal India as well as questions from his avid readers in the audience about his mythological series and his creative writing process at an interactive session hosted by the Indic Book Club in association with the University of Houston Graduate Indian Student Organization and Hindu Yuva on Tuesday, Feb. 6 evening at the UH central campus.

The Houston event was part of Amish’s first US lecture tour with appearances in academic campuses and mainstream locations throughout the country. Amish’s publisher Westland Books India arranged for sale of his books and author signing before and after the lecture.
Amish’s remarks were moderated by local scholar and blogger Sunanda Vashisht. The variety of topics Amish discussed included the following:

Why is India immortal?
Enemies have attacked us physically and intellectually for centuries. I  think it is the concept of balance as opposed to extremism.  We believed in both non-violence as well as self defense. Similarly,  we achieved balance between  liberal and conservative thought. As a result, our civilization was rigid enough to fight back for our values when it had to and liberal enough to change when it had to.

What was the status of women in ancient India?
India had achieved balance between women and men. Did you know that some of the verses in the Rig Vedas were written by rishikas? There is also no value in demonising men. That was the genius of India–finding balance. It is this characteristic that we need to understand, explore and communicate to the rest of the world. Sunanda is right in saying the Indian civilization has shrunk in modern times. One reaction would be defensive. The better approach is to be confident of our culture and communicate our values and sense of balance to the rest of the world.

How do we deal with polarization in the political arena?
Political debate in India and the US has become polarized and there’s a tendency to think of the other side as evil. It is not about exploring the issues. This is when an authoritative regime becomes attractive. I think the world can learn from ancient India’s approach of balance, that there is no absolute truth, but multiple truths.

How will you present the Shiva trilogy in the visual media?
I met recently with some Hollywood producers and we’re planning to produce a series that will be streamed online on a platform such as Amazon, which is supporting my US tour.
Amish touched upon numerous other topics, such as the absence of caste rigidity in ancient India, but it was evident to see that Amish had established a remarkable connection with his readers and the audience doted on his every word.