Amish Tripathi who is on a promotional spree for his upcoming book, Sita, Warrior of Mithila, has a problem with using his surname “Tripathi” while being addressed. “My surname is a caste surname, and I am completely against the caste system.” He goes on to add in an interview with InUth that in ancient India, caste system wasn’t birth-based and it wasn’t the dehumanising and the accepted form of oppression that it came to be.

“Who wrote Ramayana and Mahabharata? Valmiki was from the lower caste, Ved Vyasa was born to a fisherwoman. Lord Ram’s officiating priest was the son of a single Shudra mother. ” He adds, “This is no justification for the years of caste-based oppression and the injustice. But once we go back to our ancient culture, we would know that we were far more liberal than we are today. And the liberal elite is not ready to embrace this rich tradition. For example, the status of women in our society right now is a matter of concern. You go back to the ancient times and you will see that there were women Rishis, something you can call equivalent to a woman prophet. That was the status of women.”

According to Amish, it is in embracing our ancient culture that we will be able to modernise ourselves. He is worried about the Left’s complete disdain for it and the Right’s wrong appropriation of what Hindu culture and the Indian culture stands for. “I am neither a right-wing supporter nor a left-wing supporter. I think the Centrist have to take charge now. A majority of India is centrist.”

On why he chose to announce the name of his upcoming book with Textile Minister Smriti Irani, he says, “I usually stay away from making political comments. But I have political friends across all parties. The reason I announced the name of the book with Smriti Irani because she symbolises a strong woman, just like the character of Sita in my book. She hasn’t had it easy. It wasn’t for her political affiliation but for the woman that she is.”