Myth is the foundation of literature

New Delhi: He has been identified over time as a poet, an adman, a TV scriptwriter, a crime novelist and a mythological author but writer of the popular Ramayana Series, Ashok K Banker, feels myth is the foundation of all literature and culture.

The author of the Ramayana Series tries to weave magic with the tales of Lord Krishna in "Slayer of Kamsa", the first of his eight-book "Krishna Coriolis" series.

Banker says he was always obsessed with the idea of writing an epic fictional series exploring the idea of Indian identity.

"I knew that to do it justice I would have to start with the earliest mythological epics and work my way forwards. But being of mixed racial and cultural parentage, I had very little exposure to Hinduism. My first award was for an Urdu short story translation, I was more familiar with Farsi than Sanskrit and I had zero interest in TV ythologicals like Ramayana and Mahabharata," Banker told PTI.

It took him quite a long time to read, study and understand the Sanskrit epics.

"Once I did, it opened my mind. I began my Ramayana Series in the late 90s but simultaneously worked on early drafts of the Mahabharata and other related works. In 2004, when I completed my Ramayana Series and began my Mahabharata in earnest, I knew it was too huge to be told in a single series.

"So I split Krishna`s story into the Krishna Coriolis, which is what Vyasa also did in his Harivamsha. You could say that understanding Rama and Krishna are seminal to understanding the origins of Indian identity, regardless of whether you`re a modern-day Hindu or a non-Hindu like myself."

According to him, the `Coriolis effect` refers to the influence of the earth`s gravitational spin on all living and inanimate things.

"Krishna Coriolis simply postulates that Krishna causes all things to turn, including the world itself. It`s a wink from religion to physics."

With the Ramayana series and Krishna Coriolis already behind him and Mahabharata almost done, Banker says he has already moved on from mythology and almost all his current work is contemporary fiction.