Posts Tagged ‘Hindu mythology’
(An Article by Max Overton)
I was sitting on the sofa one evening, coffee in hand, watching the BBC documentary series “Tribe” (“Going Tribal” in the USA). If you’ve never seen this series, a Royal Marine named Bruce Parry visits remote tribes around the world and spends a month living and interacting with tribal members. He eats their food, sleeps in their huts, joins in their rituals, and often forms close personal bonds with individuals. On this particular evening, he was living with the Adi tribe of the Himalayas. They are animists, worshipping the sun, moon and spirits of nature, though Christian missionaries have recently invaded the region, subverting their beliefs.
My wife Julie and I discussed the program and Julie wondered what the people of the tribe thought of this strange Christian religion when it was first introduced. I took it one stage further and wondered what the gods of this tribe thought of Christianity. An idea was born that evolved into Rakshasa, the first of my ‘Demon’ series.
I set my story in the mountainous Indian state of Uttarakhand for several reasons, not least of all because I have ties to the area. My maternal ancestors have lived in India since the late 1700s and frequented the foothills of the Himalayas and the hot dusty plains at their feet. My grandmother and mother were born in Allahabad, and I was told many stories of their experiences there. Some of their stories have made their way into Rakshasa and have lifted parts of the book (in my mind at least) from pure fiction to family history. Naturally, every part of the book has been thoroughly researched, right down to the finer details.
Rakshas are fierce, horrific creatures from Hindu mythology. When I first thought about using one of these demons as my ‘hero’ I wondered if it could be done. After all, they’re evil and kill people! I know, Dexter Morgan does it in Miami and he’s very popular, but demons don’t just kill guilty people – they feast on men, women and children whose only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Demons don’t have much of a choice though – it’s what they do. They were created to prey on humans and a raksha who kills cannot really be held accountable – or can he? What if the demon decided he didn’t want to be a demon? Could he change his nature? Would that make him more likeable? Read the rest of this entry »