Amish Does 'Self-Help'
India Today|April 05, 2021
The author’s new book is, at best, an advertisement for his oeuvre
Shreevatsa Nevatia

Gargi and her husband Nachiket sit down to eat with her parents, Lopamudra and Dharma Raj. They have wine with their missal pav. As they banter, they quote Sigmund Freud and Jaggi Vasudev. There’s something artificial about the way they speak, something contrived about how their conversations shift from the Chinese Communist Party to Icarus and then to the Mahabharata. The imagined exchanges of this family—hammy as they are—make up the pages of Dharma, a book the author Amish has written with his sister Bhavna Roy. Aimed for self-help shelves, the book aims to decode the epics and give our life meaning. Sadly, it patronises you so much in the process, you only feel irate.

The Hindutva project has for long reduced the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to a set of convenient edicts we are expected to live by. Dharma does something similar. Stories don’t satisfy Amish and Roy. They want to penetrate the surface and find “wisdom” that lurks below. Characters like Bhishma and Yudhishthira are summarily castigated. Rather than accept the limits of their moral and literary universe, the authors impose on their actions a structure of modern virtue that seems pedantic and supercilious. Blame often flies thick and fast. Gandhari, for instance, is even declared “adharmic” once.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM INDIA TODAYView All

THE RUMBLINGS WITHIN

EVEN AS THE BJP’S EXPANSIONIST DRIVE CONTINUES AT A NATIONAL LEVEL, IT IS BATTLING ATTRITION IN SEVERAL KEY STATES IT RULES, INCLUDING SOME THAT GO TO POLLS EARLY NEXT YEAR

10+ mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

THE RACE AGAINST TIME

BATTERED BY THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19, THE GOVERNMENT RECALIBRATES ITS VACCINATION STRATEGY IN THE HOPE OF INOCULATING INDIA’S 900 MILLION ADULT POPULATION BY DECEMBER 31. HOW REALISTIC IS THIS TARGET?

10+ mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

THE YOUNG SURVIVORS

On April 8, Deepak Solanki, resident of Bagratawa, a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district, tested positive for the coronavirus. Two days earlier, Solanki and his wife Anita developed a fever and other flu-like symptoms, but they thought it was likely just about of common flu—it hadn’t yet sunk in that Covid was no longer the urban phenomenon they imagined it to be. However, an RT-PCR test, done on the insistence of Deepak, 45, a district medical representative, proved otherwise. Deepak was admitted to a private medical facility the same day and Anita two days later. Their children—two daughters, aged 18 and 15, and a son, 12—were left in the care of their nephew Shrikant Solanki. All three children, too, had tested positive.

4 mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

Q+ A ‘I want to do everything'

Actor Arjun Kapoor on breaking the mould, shooting in the ‘new normal’ and on his latest film, Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar

1 min read
India Today
June 21, 2021

MISSION CHOKSI

An Indian fugitive in the Caribbean makes a sensational claim of abduction. Can India bring Mehul Choksi back to face justice?

9 mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

THE BATTLE FOR ONLINE PRIVACY

THE NEW IT RULES HAVE LED TO A FACE-OFF BETWEEN THE UNION GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA GIANTS. BUT AMID ALL THE FURORE, HAVE USER RIGHTS BECOME THE BIGGEST CASUALTY?

10+ mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

ON A ROLL

Huma Qureshi talks about juggling the multiple roles of an actress, a fundraiser for Covid relief and an author

4 mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

Fear and ‘Safe Zones' in Kashmir

The dramatic and hostile reord­ er ing of Jammu and Kashmir’s political status vis­a­vis the Indian state on August 5, 2019 was followed by a systematic emasculation of the old political order and its replacement by a new set of elected lead­ ers. The BJP­led central government felt that taking control of local governance institutions (panchayat and municipal committees) was the best way to neu­tralise the traditional political parties and its legislators in the absence of a functioning assembly. But nearly two years down the line, grassroots democ­ racy has become a hostage in the battle between the militants and government forces. There have been threats and exe­cutions and instances of elected representatives fleeing their native villages.

5 mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

HOW SAFE ARE YOUR KIDS?

WHILE THE ELDERLY REMAIN A PRIORITY FOR COVID CARE AND VACCINATION, THE RISK OF INFECTIONS IN YOUNG CHILDREN MAY HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED

9 mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021

A New Era Begins

TRINAMOOL CONGRESS

9 mins read
India Today
June 21, 2021