A while ago, the literary world was in uproar over a certain Kavya. Of course, the same world had put her on a pedestal a few months before that, but it all ended up with the somewhat catty “How Kavya got Dissed…”… her crime was that she had copied lines, okay , paragraphs from other books. well, copied would be a harsh word, she was inspired, or in her own words (pun unintended),had internalised too much of what she read and liked…
I have just finished the last book of Ashok Banker’s Ramayana series, and although i didnt like it in parts, i enjoyed reading it on the whole.. he has been successful (IMHO) in recreating the saga,and most importantly, made it sound real.. of course i always believe our myths were reality a long time back, but then i have been a sucker for mythology, and had even suffered arun govil and deepika gladly..
Now that we have dealt with the boring prologue, lets deal with my issue. The Ramayana series is not an original piece of work, not if you go by plot, or characters, which to me are important components of any literary work.. but hey, no one is raising any issues with it. is it because the ramayana and mahabharata have already been written by various authors throughout history? and is it because, there is no one to authoritatively speak on behalf of valmiki or veda vyasa and claim these works to be the most obvious examples of copyright infringement?
Maybe, the difference is that, what Kavya did can be classified as plagiarism, and this cannot be because due credit has been given? But do you think Kavya could even have begun her book if she said that her work was an inspired version of works that had been written earlier? By that logic,aren’t we assuming that M/s Valmiki and Veda Vyasa wouldnt have had a problem with recent authors getting inspired by their works and writing their own versions? And maybe, just maybe, a long time later, in KBC 15, it could happen that someone could lose a lot of money by answering ‘Ashok Banker’ to ‘Who wrote the Ramayana?’
until next time, who determines the right to copy?
PS: Having said all that, Mr.Banker’s series is a must read, for those who know the Ramayana, as well as those don’t, for its a story well retold.