Thursday, November 29, 2018

Fall of the Kurus - Book 1 - The Making of Bhishma by Kamesh Ramakrishna, a book review

For me, 
Have read Mahabharata where Pandavas were heroes, 
Have read Mahabharata where Suyodhana was a hero,
Have read Mahabharata where both parties were neutral,
Have read Mahabharata where everyone had divine powers,
Have read Mahabharata where everyone was a normal human being,
Have read Mahabharata where gods were aliens and Pandavas were alien-human breed.

So as given in forward, there are more than thousands of ways to tell Mahabharata, the important part is how the story unveils. In "The Making of Bhishma - Fall of the Kurus" author has shown or I would say started a journey of this epic with normal human race struggling for agriculture settlement and problems related to that.


Book Blurb
The Making of Bhishma, portrays the world of Hastinapura as its rulers try to manage the crisis. It explores the impact of this conflict on the life of Devavrata (Bhishma), eldest son of Shantanu, ruler of Hastinapura. His mother had committed suicide since the Kavi Sangha's one-family-one-child policy has required her to sacrifice seven of her children. Subsequently, Devavrata is disinherited so Shantanu can marry Satyavati, who demans the Kavi Sangha policies not apply to her.
Before I start those who don't want to deviate from original/Vedic /mainstream Mahabharata stories, can simply ignore this book and skip our review. Because the author has taken a good level of independence and colored our favorite characters as per his imagination. For example, in our story, Devavrata Bhishma took a vow of celibacy and he never had a wife /affair. Wherein here the story starts with Amba having affair with Bhishma before he had taken the vow and Shikhandin was shown as Bhishma's son. So you can only imagine the level of freedom the author has taken to prepare his characters.

The principal war of Mahabharata is shown in this book as the difference between economic strategy. Bhishma in the capacity of three-time regency had used the expansion of Kuru borders into (mostly) Naga territory through exploitation. Dhritarashtra and (later on) Suyodhana supported his tactics. But Pandu and (later on) Yudhisthira believed in peace. So Yudhisthira wanted to stop expansion and would like to work hand in hand with Nagas. This fundamental economic/strategic difference along with bloodline issue led to break in bond and Kuru lineage. The story started with Bhishma in deathbed and Yudhisthira requested to tell him the history of how it all started. Bhishma hesitated initially, but memory started flooding in front of his eyes. Yudhisthira wanted to know events which have led the war situation. Surprisingly, when Bhishma thought of, the majority of his decisions had created the problems that generation of Yudhisthira & Suyodhana were facing. I don't want to kill or spoil your reading experience so not giving away much plot.

Undoubtedly a must read. One should at least give a try to imagine how would be real life of Mahabharata times if those people were a mere human. A sure shot page-turner, it won't make you feel that you have read a 500 pages-long book.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Characters - 4.5/5
  3. Concept - 4.5/5
  4. Content - 5/5
  5. Overall - 4.75/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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