Sunday, July 21, 2019

Alternate Narration of Mahabharata - I, Duryodhana by Pradeep Govind - A Book Review

The epic Mahabharata has given inspirations to hundreds of Indian author. I have read many of those works. Literature freedom has helped many authors to bring alternative views as well. i.e. If you question doubtful incidents of Mahabharata (by Ved Vyasa) then curiosity will irrupt in you. You may think whether protagonists of Vyasa's narration were that crystal clear and antagonists of the story were really that sinister. And such questions make you realize that there are some gray areas on both sides of characters. Just because Pandava's won the war, they got a clean chit from narrators? Have you ever thought about this?

Well, I got these doubts when I read Ajaya series by Anand Neelkanthan or I would say he sowed seeds of questioning against the epic. After that, I have read Mahabharata from various POVs, Yudhisthira, Bhima, Karna, Arjuna, Kunti, Draupadi, Bhishma, (even) Shakuni. As mentioned Anand's Ajaya was with Duryodhana as Protagonist. So when I got the chance to read another book in the same line, I didn't think twice. So here I am discussing the book. That was about other books I have read around Mahabharata. Let's talk about "I, Duryodhana"

"I, Duryodhana" is written more in a biography style. Duryodhana's life starting from his birth to the end of the war was depicted from his point of view. In normal Mahabharata, Duryodhana was always questioned against his actions but never was seen as a victim of the situation. His birth was right was challenged by his cousins whose birth themselves were questionable. Duryodhana has given importance of merits over birth by acknowledging Karna's superiority over arms. But that was questioned based on the caste system. He had bigger armies than Pandavas but all of his key warriors were killed by deceit, still, that was justified on the name of Dharma. He was betrayed by the people he trusted the most. Now you tell me whether you see a victim or a culprit in Duryodhana. I am not telling the exact story as it is as per Mahabharata only difference is the point of view.

The book is written in medium pace, with most of the detailed relevant to Duryodhana. Well, anger, jealousy, greed are the weakness of the human mind. The story shows these weakness were on both sides, maybe on Duryodhana side it would be slightly more. But that doesn't make one villain, which happened with him. If he and his allies would have been alive they would be able to give an exact story of Duryodhana. 

I know we have been taught not to question. So those who believe in Mahabharata as they learn since their childhood may avoid reading this book. But those who like to read and explore a various version of the story must try this book. The language usage is lucid, you won't stick to any page. The reasoning in every action and scene will make you turn pages fluently. The characterization is wonderful. 

I will give 4/5 stars to this well-researched book.

Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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