From a small town boy of Bihar, Mithilesh Kumar is now a 67 year young man of Delhi. He keeps on regularly visiting his roots and also Pennsylvania in the USA where his elder son is settled. After schooling from his home place, He did his bachelor’s from Patna and master’s from Izatnagar, U. P. After that he worked in the Govt. of Bihar and while working, appeared for Civil Service Exam, and got selected in Customs.
He has lived in various parts of the country besides in the UK where he went on deputation and he did MBA. He is fortunate to have good exposure of various peoples and cultures. On his home front he is a family man, happily married, and a proud parent and grandparent of lovely children.
TBE: Tell us about your book, can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Mithilesh Kumar: This is a historical novel on the life story of one of our greatest ancestors, Shri Krishna, told from his own perspective. It will give you an insight of his life, his emotions and his mental struggles.
TBE: What brought about the idea for Supercop of Aryavrat and why did you want to write it?
Mithilesh Kumar: To answer this question, let me first come to the Ramayana. — Valmiki was a contemporary of Shri Ram. He wrote the Ramayana that is the most authentic life story of Shri Ram. Later, great poets of different languages wrote books on him, keeping mostly Valmiki’s epic in mind. We keep Ramayana or another book on Shri Ram at home, and worship the Lord as well as the book.
On the contrary, Vedvyas, a contemporary of Shri Krishna, did not feel writing on the latter’s life that spanned for more than 125 years and 6 months and that remained as the pivot of most of the happenings of the Aryavrat of those days. Had he written it, it’d have been Shri Krishna’s most authentic story. Instead, he used all his wisdom and skill writing a book on the 18-day war, the Mahabharata that we do not keep at home; keeping it at home is considered inauspicious. — Due to this very reason, we do not know many aspects of Shri Krishna’s life unlike Shri Ram’s. Through my book I have tried to fill this void.
TBE: What was your writing process for this book?
Mithilesh Kumar: First, the idea came in my mind. Then I began weighing the idea. It appeared great. After that I began collecting and reading all materials available in the market on this subject, and taking notes. Then I began analysing each episode of his life from a realistic and humane point of view. Also, I began searching for the modern names of the kingdoms and cities of those days.
I corroborated these with the findings of archaeologists, especially the marine ones who have done wonderful job around Dwarka. After that I began giving shape to the plot, and perfecting it. Then I began writing, rewriting, re-rewriting and thus perfecting the prose and a few revisions later, I felt I had done my job and the book was complete.
TBE: How long did it take you to write this book?
Mithilesh Kumar: Since the time I thought of the idea of writing a book on Shri Krishna, it took me three-four years, reading about him from all the sources I could lay my hands on, then understanding various episodes of his life from realistic point of view, then deciphering the modern names of the kingdoms and cities of those days, and lastly drawing out detailed plot. After that the job was easy. Giving words to all that and the book was ready.
TBE: During your journey from the idea of this book to the publication, what was the most difficult thing you faced? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Mithilesh Kumar: The idea was in my mind since long. But researching on anything, any incident is not easy. That too when the story is more than five thousand years old. Besides when by the passage of time many incidents get the shape of miracles. But when you have the will, you find the way and no power on earth can stop you. But for a new author, I must say it is difficult to get a publisher. However after the book is complete, the writer should go on contacting publishers. S/he may get many rejections, still s/he must have a positive attitude and one day, s/he will definitely get a publisher.
TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Mithilesh Kumar: First, this is not the story of Lord Krishna; this is the story of one of our most illustrious ancestors, Shri Krishna who was born on July the 19th, 3228 BC and who died on Feb the 18th, 3102 BC. Being our ancestor, he was more than God/Lord for me. So I don’t address him as Lord or God. I feel I am nearer to him when I prefix his name with Shri as we prefix the names of our parents and grandparents. — This is a historical novel, not a mythological one. Besides, this is Shri Krishna’s story from Shri Krishna’s perspective.
Next, many friends informed me that they knew everything about him through TV serials, films and various books on him. Why another book on him? I asked them, ‘Well, you know everything about him. Then tell me the names of all his eight principal queens.’ No one could go beyond four. We do not know even this basic fact of his life. While researching on his life, I came to know that there are many other aspects we do not know and I decided to give words to his complete life story. Besides being a historical novel, this is Shri Krishna’s story from Shri Krishna’s perspective.
TBE: According to you What Is Mythology? And why it is important in shaping the society of the world today or in the future?
Mithilesh Kumar: As per Oxford Dictionary, mythology is ‘ancient myths in general; the ancient myths of a particular culture, society, etc; ideas that many people think are true but that do not exist or are false’. Now my book is not a mythology because Shri Krishna was not a mythological figure; he was a historical figure, and our ancestor.
Our myths are our heritage and we must have their knowledge and we must feel proud of them. We are a product of hereditary and environmental factors and the myths of our land are in our genes. These myths help people learning good values in life and thus shaping the society.
TBE: What bodies of myths from other ancient cultures would be important for people (both young and old) to become familiar with?
Mithilesh Kumar: Knowledge is always welcome. So if it is about Roman myth or Greek myth, it should be welcome.
TBE: Do you think, for both children and adults, understanding the mythology associated with one’s culture is important? Why?
Mithilesh Kumar: Yes, they are very important. They play an important part in the evolution of culture. Then we automatically get the answers of how and why of various facets of our life.
TBE: Does Indian mythology, if interpreted without any bias, teach people to be more accepting of other cultures than Abrahamic mythologies?
Mithilesh Kumar: Due to our genes that have been shaped by our mythology as well, we believe in ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam’. So we are definitely much more acceptable than others. Basically we are a tolerant society. The history of our country, our religion and our people corroborate to this.
TBE: What are the main tenets where myths overlap modern scientific findings?
Mithilesh Kumar: Black magic, myths that this particular idol cures this disease or that, and people even in the 21st century believing in them and following them blindly are some of the examples. But thankfully with the spread of education, people have started thinking logically.
TBE: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?
Mithilesh Kumar: I am not a voracious reader. But yes, I have read dozens of books and I like a few authors, e.g. Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer, Salman Rushdie, Paulo Ceolho, Gita Mehta, Robin Sharma, Ashwin Sanghi, Chetan Bhagat, Amish, etc. In Hindi, my favourite authors are Premchand, K. M. Munshi, Bhagawati Charan Verma, Acharya Chatursen, Shivani, Bankim Chandra, Sharat Chandra, etc.
TBE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Mithilesh Kumar: Interacting with people, reading novels and travelling.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Mithilesh Kumar: I am thinking of sending another quality book, in another genre to the publisher. A light read, a story of two boys and a girl, studying together in class XI in a Mumbai school, their small, small mischiefs, making readers nostalgic of their own adolescence, and smile and laugh all through.