The Creation Of The ‘Other’ People

Anoop Parameswaran Author Interview

“Five Million Epics” unravels the story of humanity’s decline through the interconnected lives of characters across generations, sparking a conversation on empathy, unity, and the importance of learning from our past. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Before the 1980s, you will be seen arguing with your friends, relatives or even strangers against fanaticism, fascism and feudalism. They were the worst philosophies for a democratic well-wisher. By the end of the 1990s, you started to master the art of keeping away from criticising other religions, terming it as their right to believe in their own faith and worshipping the deities they possess. By doing that, you were slowly in the process of thinking only about your own religion, political party and philosophy. All the rest were the ‘other’ for you. This book deals with the creation of the ‘other’ people. It is a political discourse in the name of fiction. Sometimes reality is more engaging and fictional than fiction.

What were some sources that informed this books development?

I have a vast collection of books, all bought from my savings. I didn’t possess anything else, not even a cent of land or habitat, other than the books I owned. Being a journalist for more than 25 years, I got the opportunity to witness all the events of our time in great detail. My books and social engagements might have helped. It is the reader who has to assess what the book does carry.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

We were told in textbooks that we are a developing society. Usually, that term comes from assessing the buildings we built and the technological advances we have reached. But, when you determine humankind from an extraterritorial point of view, we understand that he is more of a deteriorated creature than he was fifty years ago. All the open conversations humans performed had fallen in the journey.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

A writer can’t ask an individual to dedicate his time to reading his book; You can’t even ask your spouse or best friend to do that. That will be an emotional attack. If someone happens to come through the book, let him share his point, that too only if he wants.

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‘Fire from hell will recede only after taking its toll, despite how many prayers of water we pour.’
Aouthakkutty thus released the teaser. This is the teaser of FIVE MILLION EPICS too. It is a book that travels through two dozens of riots. But, it is not the reportage of riots. It is also not the story of the victims. It is the story of fifty million people who lived in that country of diversity and differences. All of them decided to write an epic each. That madness created five million epics.
‘Priests seldom worry about history; Believers seldom question the priests.’
How came Thomas the Apostle disembark in the middle of a forest in the 1st century, where men began to inhabit only in the Century of Queen Elizabeth? Is it for lions, elephants, and foxes he had erected a church? Or for bear and deer? How come he carved the modified Pahlavi of the sixth century in the cross-arch before dying in 72 Anno Domini? And that too in a rock excavated only in the 19th century?’
That time was ripe for Dhananjayan to speak anything that came to his mind. Xavier replied with much clarity: ‘Pagans seldom worry about misery; Mysteries seldom wait for the conversion of pagans. Let all the pagans of the world forgive this believer. If there was no cross, if there was no Saint Thomas, if there was no exodus and if there were no churches, I would have been still eating my meal from a pit incurved in the backyard of your house.’ He raised his hands to the sky.
Bilal stood up.
‘Mr Dhanajayan…’ Dhananjayan was expecting an uncle call from this young man who is some 40 years junior to him.
‘Mr Dhananjayan. You are at the wrong end. I don’t read poems. I don’t read fiction. I don’t read even a single short story before my college days. ‘There were not even books in the house where Susmitha and I grew up. Her mother, Mary, came to our house regularly carrying the smell of hypochlorite, not of books. She was my mother too. My father was not a landlord of Colonial California to buy a bike for me and allow me to roam around. He was a roadside merchant in Kolkata, India escaped from Advala with his brother at a young age. He never participated in any riots. He never walked on the shoulder of any revolutionaries. The mob murdered him because he was the son of Muhammad Ali, who was hanged by the Britishers in Advala 60 years ago.’ Dhananjayan looked at him. ‘The grandson of Sultan Muhammad Ali, The self-proclaimed Calipha of Nathala.’
The ‘Vaishnav Janato’ ended with an addition. The Sindhu Bhairavi repeated thrice unusually, and a vocal humming followed. All the forty-three faces are now waiting like the sandy shores for a slow tide embrace. A touch from the fingertip resonated the ‘sympathetic pegs’ continuously. Pigeons can’t wait for any more. They flew towards the red spot. Susmita, with wide-opened eyes, is a horizon now. They entered with extended wings. ‘Nobody in the world can beat Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Bangash in this Sindhu Bhairavi.’ Bilal once again touched the lower string peg. Susmita vibrated.
It is the ninth hairpin bend. A decade-old state corporation bus used its wiper from the fourth or the fifth bend. In trying to wipe out the fog, the rubber blade had made another layer of masquerade. The bus would have comfortably gone uphill if the energy used to run the wiper were saved: thought Suman, as she had no other unyielding waves disturbing her mind. Quite a long since the pacific in her touched the shore so gently. The waves hurled like in a rock for a decade.
Now she had entered a world where there are no ebb and flow. It’s a re-entry from the 3rd generation to the high ranges of the Western Ghats. Susmita never tried to reach there. Nobody called her either.
Three women tell an unusual story of the massacre, elopement, sojourn and jihad.

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Posted on May 7, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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