Thursday, 8 September 2016

Mahabharat - The Epic Tale

I first read Mahabharata a few years ago (Not to mention I have seen the TV show that used to run on Doordarshan). The Epic story never stopped fascinating me. Each time I read, it intrigued me to look at a different perspective of life... My reading of Mahabharata was a Pandav driven perspective, until I was introduced to "Mrityunjaya" by Shivaji Sawant a point of view of Karna. The book enlightened and I had a feeling that Mahabharat is not just about Kaurav and Pandav's, it truly meant more. More than a myth, an epic story, a political saga, a display of passion and greed. Mrityunjaya made me think there was another hero in this story, Karna. Not that the Mahabharat projected him as a villain, but then who fights for the evil is also termed Evil.

Then came  I was introduced to Devdutt Patnaik's Jaya. Mahabharat with a different angle. Devdutt patnaik, kind of challenged the belief of Duryodhana as a villain, yet gave a lot of details that were never told in earlier books I read. Then I happened to fumble over "Palace of Illusions" by Chitra Banerjee an English book on Mahabharat from Draupadi's point of view. Whilst a lot of the content in this book appeared superficial, I was amazed how a perspective changed the villains, affiliations and allegiances between people. Ignore if someone tells you this book is shit, you still got to read it :). A year or so passed when I stumbled upon "Ajaya - The roll of dice" this was Duryodhan's point of view and what an amazing one. Yet again in the battle of good and evil, perspective can be so important. This also made my belief stronger that your behavior is controlled by where you see things from. Ajaya is one of the good books I read on Mahabharat. Months between came "Yuganta" a marathi book by Irawati Karve, this is a wonderful book that portrayed bheeshm, Kripacharya, Dronacharya and others in a very secular light. I enjoyed this book and yet again the battle between if Mahabharat was ever about Good vs Evil started. My stop on Bhyrappa's "Parva" was a new way to see Mahabharat without any magical elements, no curses, no divine elements. Although I read the marathi version of this translated by Uma Kulkarni, I am very sure it would not be any different in Kannada.

My next stop was "Yugandhar"  a book in marathi and from Krishna's perspective. I think this changes the flow in which we think about Mahabharat as you then start lining up events to justify or judge good and evil. A week or so ago I ended up with "Duryodhan" a book in marathi by Kaka Vidhate... Now this book is not just a fascinating tale, but also an epic narration by several characters (majorly Duryodhan), just adds fuel to the thought process on was Duryodhan really evil or Mahabharat was a dirty political saga.

My curiosity just doesn't end, reading so many articles and short stories on this Epic, I ended up creating my own wish list.. Books I still have to get my hands on, here are a few names...

Randaamoozham - They say this is a malyalam book having Mahabhart from Bheem's point of view.
Kapatneeti - A marathi book, that gives a detailed view of politics of the time.
Dhananjaya - Arjun's point of view
Radhey - Karna's point of view.
Yajnaseni - Draupadi's point of view
Jyeshtha - Yudhishtir's point of view
Karna's wife - Vrushali's point of view
Shakuni Shuvala - A baloch version talking about the Gandhar prince
The Winds of Hastinapur - A feminine look at Mahabharat
Kounteya - A Tamil book with a Point of view from Kunti

If you know more, do let me know. I would be glad to add up to this list.