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'Ajaya' Book Launch by Nagarjuna and Amala

Nagarjuna and Amala successfully launch ‘Ajaya’ in Hyderabad

~ ‘Ajaya’ by Anand Neelakantan was recently launched in Hyderabad. Renowned actor & producer Nagarjuna along with fellow actor & welfare activist Amala were present at the event. This is the first book published in India, which is to have a worldwide release ~

Hyderabad, December 28, 2013: The launch of “Ajaya” written by bestselling author of ASURA, Anand Neelakantan, and published by Leadstart Publishing, saw the presence of distinguished personalities like actor & producer Nagarjuna and actor & welfare activist Amala today, at the Landmark, Somajiguda, KMC Retail Mall, Begumpet.

With such prolific artists the launch was a success in every way. Legendary actor Nagarjuna congratulated Anand Neelakantan for attempting to look at history and culture from the lens of the defeated and tell us their side of the story. He then read a few of his favorite excerpts from the book, much to the delight and pleasure of the audience.

Welfare activist and actor Amala then took the stage and spoke about the need to look at our mythologies from the side of the vanquished. The importance of having a holistic view of the past to understand and appreciate it better. He too read a couple of his favorite paragraphs from the book for an enthralled audience.

‘Ajaya’ has been launched at various other cities, and was recently touted as no.1 bestseller by Crosswords. Commenting on the opportunity to publish this extraordinary book, by an extraordinary author Swarup Nanda, CEO, Leadstart Publishing said, “We are delighted to be publishing Anand’s ‘Ajaya’. For the first time, we are launching this book in 10 different languages pan-India for maximum reach. This will happen post 90 days of the launch of the English version. I am personally most intrigued by the book as it gives a whole new perspective to the Mahabharata – the story we have all heard growing up. Ajaya is like reading something familiar yet entirely new....it opens the mind to possibilities we have never considered”.

When, the author Anand Neelakantan was invited on the stage he related the fascinating story of why he thought of writing Ajaya. He explained to a fascinated audience how a visit to a temple in a Kerala village, where the local deity was Duryodhan, prompted him to delve deep into the narrative of the defeated Crown Prince of Hastinapura, and the Kaurava clan. “Ajaya, explores the Kaurava’s side of the story. It is yet another attempt from me to understand that what is unsaid in our epics,” said Neelakantan.

About the book: ‘Ajaya’ in Sanskrit means the un-conquerable, which is true of the Kaurava clan, which did not surrender and had to be decimated to the last person standing. The book has four principal heroes, Duryodhana, Karna, Aswathama and Ekalavya. In his efforts to trace the Pandavas in exile, Duryodhana traversed the forests of the deep South, to reach Malanada. Tired and thirsty, he asked for water. He was served toddy by an elderly woman, an untouchable. He drank the water and blessed her and the place. Abiding by his concept of rajadharma, Duryodhana began Siva worship in these hills, praying for the protection of the disadvantaged. He gave away hundreds of acres of agricultural land as freehold to the Devasthanam. Even today, the land tax on this property is levied in the name of Duryodhana. Duryodhana also ensured that Gandhari (his mother), Dussala (his sister), Karna (his friend), Drona (his Guru), and others, were given respectful observance near the temple. Members of the Kurava caste remain the poojaris at the temple. The book explores why great men of integrity, like Bhishma, Drona, as well as Krishna’s entire army, fought for Duryodhana.

About the author: Anand Neelakantan is known for debut novel Asura tale of the Vanquished. Anand's debut work Asura Tale of the Vanquished was a surprise bestseller of 2012, breaking into the top seller charts within a week of its launch. Asura, tale of the Vanquished became the number one best seller of 2012 as per Crossword list and CNN IBN. Anand Neelakantan was chosen as one of the six most remarkable writers of 2012 by DNA. Anand Neelakantan has written columns for Deccan chronicle, Asian Age, The New Indian Express, The Wall Street Journal, Speaking Tree etc. His interviews have been published in The Hindu, The Indian Express, Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, The Telegraph, The New Indian Express, Afternoon DC etc.

I WAS BORN IN A QUAINT little village called Thripoonithura, on the outskirts of Cochin, Kerala. Located east of mainland Ernakulam, across Vembanad Lake, this village had the distinction of being the seat of the Cochin royal family. However, it was more famous for its 100-odd temples, the various classical artists it produced, and its school of music. I remember many an evening listening to the faint rhythm of the chendas coming from the temples, and the notes of the flute escaping over the rugged walls of the music school. However, Gulf money and the rapidly expanding city of Cochin, have wiped away all remaining vestiges of that old-world charm. The village has evolved into the usual, unremarkable, suburban hellhole – clones of which dot India. Growing up in a village with more temples than was necessary, it was little wonder that mythology fascinated me. Ironically, I was drawn to the anti-heroes. My own life went on… I became an engineer, joined the Indian Oil Corporation, moved to Bangalore, married Aparna, and welcomed my daughter Ananya, and son, Abhinav. However, the voices of yore refused to be silenced in my mind. I felt impelled to narrate the stories of the vanquished and the damned; and give life to those silent heroes who have been overlooked in our uncritical acceptance of conventional renderings of our epics. This is Anand’s second book and follows the outstanding success of his national #1 bestseller, ASURA Tale Of The Vanquished (Platinum Press 2012). AJAYA Book II, Rise Of Kali, is due for release later in 2014. Anand can be reached at: [email protected]

About the Publishers: Leadstart Publishing is a leading publishing house from India. It is both creative and progressive in its vision and publishing focii. The Leadstart Lists feature distinguished authors and writing from across the globe. Today, Leadstart Publishing has 10 brands and publishes over 200 titles a year, with imprints and products in all major book categories. Leadstart is also India’s largest book distribution network, with a retail distribution spread of over 100 cities, almost four times the size of its closest competitor. Leadstart Publishing has been termed ‘the fastest-growing book publishing company in India today,’ by The Week magazine. Leadstart has offices in India and the US and operates around the world in association with global partners.
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