Book Review: Ashok and the Nine Unknown by Anshul Dupare

Ashok and the Nine Unknown
Author: Anshul Dupare
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

It is riveting to roll up our sleeves and research on the origins of folklore and the origins of mythology. The world treasures a lot of mysteries and conspiracy theories. There are plenty of myths associated with our country as well. One such myth or mystery is about the assemblage of nine men by Emperor Ashoka who could exercise political, social and personal control in the society. Theory says that the motive of constituting such a secret society was to help the great king keep his subjects happy and avoid war and bloodshed. Apparently, that’s why when Radhaguptaji was sent in search of these men, he was given clear cut instructions about the kind and depth of research that was involved in this task. Much has been read and talked about these men in theological books. Much has been hypothesized. There are beliefs and there are myths. And the author doesn’t do much differently here. Using the prior knowledge and some fiction, he weaves a tale that is sure to keep you enraptured.

One of the most important aspects of mythology books is the language. Lucid narrative clubbed with fluidity in the flow of the story is what makes a story interesting. ‘Ashok and the Nine Unknown’ has the latter but misses the former. The narrative could have been terse. Only if the lengthy descriptive paragraphs were avoided, the story wouldn’t have been monotonous in the second-half.

Learning his lesson from the war of Kalinga, Ashoka focuses more on inculcating human qualities rather than just winning. His prime agenda then becomes to serve humanity and keep his subjects happy. Realizing that a single man’s show would not help him in the long run, he brings together nine jewels belonging to different parts of the country together.

Joining the dots together, the book aims to bring the myths associated with the conception, provenance and the execution of the secret society of Ashoka. With simple vocabulary, the book is highly recommended for the ones who like to venture beyond the basics of Indian mythology. A tantalizing cover adds on to the enticing opus.

Buying Link: Amazon

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