A visit to Roza Bal shrine of saint Yuz Asaf in Srinagar kindled Ashwin Sanghi’s interest in the legend which says it is the burial place of Jesus Christ. Two years of research ended in his first book The Rozabal Line. Sanghi, a businessman, is a popular fiction-thriller writer and has four bestselling novels to his credit.
His Bharat series covers a range of topics such as theology in The Rozabal Line, politics in Chanakya’s Chant, mythology in The Krishna Key and modern history in The Sialkot Saga. He then waded into crime-thrillers with New York’s bestselling writer James Patterson in his Private India series. Then came the ‘13 Steps’ series, which falls in the self-help category. What’s next?
Ashwin Sanghi, AuthorIf you ask me ‘will you ever write a romance novel?’ I’d say no because my mind just doesn’t work in that direction. But science fiction? Yes. Horror? Probably.
Scientists like Stephen Hawkings or Richard Dawkins have inspired him to perceive the impossible. “If you really see, quantum physics has a lot to do with spirituality,” he said.
While Sanghi has a few ideas, he doesn’t have the time to plan them as a book or a series. “Each book in the Bharat series took 8-24 months and a number of books from the 13 Steps series are also lined up.”
What inspires him? Sanghi points to some of his favourite books. Here’s what he recommends...
1. The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
Published in 1946, the book offers a window into the life of the spiritual leader. For Sanghi, the book is special because it was a gift from his grandfather when he was thirteen. He didn’t understand the book the first time, and read it over and over again.
2. Kautilya’s Arthashastra
Sanghi says the ancient Indian treatise on statesmanship, economics, politics and military expertise is one of the most interesting reads.
Ashwin Sanghi, AuthorThe book speaks about how wide a chariot road should be for allowing one chariot to overtake another... how deep a treasury should be to avoid looters... how often should you pay your army personnel so that he is well fed but still hungry for more.
3. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
First published in 1981, Rushdie’s masterpiece begin’s with India’s independence and tracks the life of Saleem Sinai whose fate is linked to his hour of birth. “It is a tremendously Indian voice which is gripping and compelling,” Sanghi said. “That’s the sort of fiction I want to write.”
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