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  • Writer's pictureVadhan

Why Is Fantasy Fiction So Popular in India?

Well, because it is India. 1600 languages. Each language has a culture. Each culture has a treasure trove of stories to support their belief systems. We’ve waded through the waters of myth from the time we could understand the spoken word.

Mom used to take me out into the moonlit night. She used to hold a silver bowl full of sweetened milk rice. She pointed the moon to me and said that she would tell me how Lord Ganesh was cross with the moon one time and cursed it, if I eat the food.

My grandmothers, (maternal and paternal) brought me up on a heavy dose of Ramayan and Mahabharat. My paternal grandmother told me stories of my forefathers, their hunting days, the way they chased after bandits and thieves and how they took care of the subjects of their little fiefdoms.

As soon as I was good to read, I started off with Amar Chitra Katha comics, Jataka tales and Panchatantra came to life with monkeys, donkeys, birds and deers teaching me how to lead a moral life.

Every celebration we have in this country is linked to a mythical battle of good over evil. In the north of India, Diwali, the festival of lights, (and a whole lot of fireworks) constitutes the celebration for the return of Ram to Ayodhya. Down south, it constitutes celebrations for the slaying of Naraka Asura by Krishna. One festival, two different stories.

The Dussera festival in the East and South of India is to celebrate the slaying of Mahisa Asura by the Goddess Durga and her avatar, Kali. In the North it is the celebration of Ram’s victory over the Asura, Ravana.One festival, two stories. Each culture, each language has its own story.

In India for instance, Hanuman is considered a bachelor. In Thailand, he is considered a married man. In some belief systems, Lord Ganesh is considered a Bachelor. There are yet other belief systems in which he has two wives, Sridevi and Mudevi.

There are two stories as to why Lord Ganesh, the popular elephant headed God, has a broken tusk. One story is that he used the tusk to defeat the terrible Gajamukh Asura. The other story is that he used the tusk to write the Mahabharat as Sage Vyas dictated the great epic to him.

Stories abound. Authors have given their takes on the stories in fantasy novels in India. We grew up on fantasy. We are probably the largest market in fantasy. Everyone knows it,except publishers!

And then someone has to go and ask why fantasy fiction is so popular in India. Seriously?


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