India is a land of diverse culture and rich history, both oral and written. Sanskrit being one of the oldest languages in the world, and some Hindu texts dating back thousands of years, Indian mythological stories were originally penned in these two languages.
Over the years, the stories piqued the curiosity of thinkers and writers around the world, who wrote about them in many different ways. Still, the best retellings of Indian mythology are done by our homegrown writers, who have a great understanding of ancient legends.
We’ve chosen 5 such writers based on their distinctive style and popularity: (in no particular order)
1. Ashwin Sanghi
For those who’d love the component of mystery mixed with mythology, and are fans of Dan Brown books, you’re likely to enjoy Ashwin’s books too. Marked with alternative plots and conspiracy, his stories will keep you gripped until the last page.
Ashwin forayed into the world of writing with his book Chanakya’s Chant, which received a good welcome from the readers. He has also authored other thrillers like Rozabal Line and Krishna Key. All three books have been bestsellers in the Indian market.
2. Amish Tripathi
Hailed as India’s literary pop star, Amish is the name behind the popular Shiva Trilogy. All three books of his trilogy, namely, The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas, and The Oath of the Vayuputras, became instant hits and sold millions of copies, as they portrayed old mythological characters in a completely modern light. He also used geographical and scientific examples to make the myths more relatable.
The author is now working on another series based on the life of Lord Ram, and some of his books are rumoured to become movies soon.
3. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Indian mythology, like any other old narrative from around the world, has been prejudiced against women. A female perspective was much needed, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has done a great job of providing it.
Her novel, The Palace of Illusions, which was published in 2008, tells the story of Mahabharata from Draupadi’s point of view. The book got a warm reception from Indian and international readers, especially women. It also sparked a debate over woman characters in mythological stories.
4. Devdutt Pattanaik
Giving a new life to ancient scriptures like Mahabharata and Ramayana through his illustrations and modern writing, Devdutt Pattanaik enjoys a wide readership. His simple retelling of the scriptures and fascinating stories from Indian mythology took him to the list of top bestselling Indian authors in 2014.
He also incorporated Indian mythology in modern business practices, through books like Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management.
5. Anand Neelakantan
Anand Neelakantan is known to have started a new form of writing — the counter telling of mythology. His first novel Asura was the story of Ramayana from antagonist Ravana’s perspective. It became a bestseller within a week of its launch in May 2014. He has written two more books based on the Mahabharata since then.
Anand was also in the news recently, as he was chosen to author a three-part series based on the popular film, Baahubali. His books have been translated in various languages like Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and Gujarati.
These are our top five mythological writers. Which other author should’ve made it to the list? Share your views in the comments below.
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Namit is a journalist and adventure sports enthusiast. He divides his time in reading about interesting issues and later writing about them. In his free time, he is most expected to escape to the mountains in search of solitude.