Mumbai: All communities have extremists, with some committing crimes under the slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and some others under ‘Allahu Akbar’, and all need to be punished with the full force of the law, author Amish Tripathi said Wednesday.
Tripathi was speaking to ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta and Associate Editor Manasi Phadke at ThePrint Off The Cuff in Mumbai.
“Anyone who takes the law into his own hands regardless of whatever slogan or no slogan needs to be met with the full force of the law. This is one of the biggest problems in India. Most criminals know that they will actually not get punished because our criminal justice system is paralysed,” Tripathi said.
He added, “There are extremists in all communities. Some may wrongly use ‘Jai Shree Ram’, some may use ‘Allahu Akbar’, some may use various other things. I don’t think that is the moot point. The moot point is people taking the law in their own hands. Whether they use any slogans or not. They need to be punished with the full force of the law.”
Tripathi, who has just published Raavan, the third book in his Ram Chandra series, called ‘Jai Shree Ram’ a beautiful slogan, which he says with immense pride.
“People get harmed but how can that be stopped? Will it be stopped by demonising ‘Jai Shree Ram’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’? No. It gets stopped by a proper criminal justice system,” said the author.
He said people across all faiths in India are relatively peaceful, and violence levels on a per capita basis are very low in India.
Tripathi added that the Left wing and the Right wing feed each other and most of the Indians are not even part of that conversation.
‘India is in denial about its past’
Speaking on the demand for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Amish Tripathi said he will not comment on the politics of it, but one of the reasons for there being poison in India’s body politic is because the country hasn’t made peace with its history.
The author, who has written bestsellers such as the Shiva Trilogy, Ram: Scion of Ikshvaku, and Sita: Warrior of Mithila, said there is a common misconception that Arabs invaded India, whereas it was the Turks, who also invaded and destroyed the Arab world.
“Every society has a history… The Arabs have adopted the strategy of unfocused hatred. They feel that for 700-800 years they haven’t been the masters of their own destiny and we have seen the chaos that strategy can lead to,” said Tripathi, who was a banker before he switched to writing.
India, he said, is the other extreme, where people have adopted the strategy of being in denial of what happened.
“What that strategy does is causes pain subterraneously in adults as well and that poison comes out somewhere else, in an extremely negative way,” Tripathi said.
“One of the most dangerous concepts that sadly both the Left and the Right practice is historical guilt and community guilt. The Left will do it on the communities that they hate, which is white men. Like today’s white man has to apologise for what Winston Churchill did, and the Right will do it on the communities that they hate.
“We have to get rid of it. But denial is not a way to solve these problems. Speak the truth of what happened and then the poison will go out,” he added.
‘Raavan my darkest book so far’
Amish Tripathi said Raavan being a dark character, the book on him turned out to be his darkest, and he had faced a writer’s block for a few months.
“Any artist will tell you that the work we do, the emotions in that will impact us as well. Unfortunately it also coincided with a difficult part in my life.
“So I got into this feedback loop where my mood went into the book and the book’s mood went into me. Probably for the first time in my life, I actually experienced a bit of a writers’ block for a short period,” said Tripathi, whose Shiva Trilogy is soon likely to be converted into a web series.
The author said Raavan is not just a villain but a very nuanced character with a lot of depth.
“I am not denying his dark shades. He is an exceptionally violent man with a massive ego. But what makes him fascinating albeit in a troubling way is that he is also extremely talented, very well read, very intelligent, a brilliant musician and a brilliant administrator,” Tripathi said.
He added that Raavan is an extremely fascinating character because he could have been a great man with the right mentorship, better choices and greater control over his ego.
“That’s what makes it a little tragic in some ways,” Tripathi said.