I have a soft spot for Mythology. It is interesting and fascinating at the same time! So when The Aryavarta Chronicles Book 3: Kurukshetra came along for review @ Blogadda, I signed up for it without hesitation.
I got the book a couple of days later but this post got delayed as we were on a small trip to some holy places in Karnataka .I will save those memories for another post. Now let us get back to the book in limelight….
This book is the third in the series – The Aryavarta Chronicles by author – Krishna Udaysankar.
I must admit that I have not read the previous books in this series but I was sure it wouldn’t matter that much.It is the well known story – Mahabaratha and the author did not leave the reader in mid air. The Dynasties of the Aryavarta and the cast of characters is clearly mentioned in first few pages.
The Author’s note starts with a gathering of scholars in circa second
millenium BCE where this story / epic was narrated to the gathering by
Sanunuka Kulapati as ithihasa / history.It was narrated under the
assumption on what would have happened if all the characters walked the
earth as we know it today.
And in the same authors note is also a statement – The Aryavarta Chronicles are neither reinterpretation nor retelling. These stories are a construction of reality based on a completely different set of assumptions.The author has told the story in a contextualized and rationalized manner.
As the title suggests the story is all about the 18 days long epic war. It occupies the center stage obviously.The peace proposal brought forth by Govinda is rejected by Duryodhan who is called Suyoddan in this story.The lengthy war ensues as the peace talks fail and the brothers fight against their own family who are on the opposite side.
Each side tries to prove that it is stronger than the other
and does not want to be seen as weaklings.Thus when there is war there is
heavy loss of life and morals.Many a questions arise as to why one has
to fight this war.Is it to avenge an earlier situation ? Or is it to
seek justice to what happened to Panchali Draupadi? Each one is filled
with dilemma if the right thing is being done. All these are clearly
brought in front of your eyes by the authors superb narrative.
One usually sees Yudhishtir / Dharma as the embodiment of justice and righteousness and Duryodhan/Suyoddan as the epitome of evil. But here both the characters are portrayed to have the good and bad side.
And then there are the stories within the story. Each one is equally interesting.Almost all the characters in the book are being given equal importance. The less popular characters like Abimanyu ,whom we know to have met with a violent and unjust end has another side that we are not familiar with-his life with Utthara!
In many a places the narrative takes the center stage and those were the places where I slowed down a bit to indulge in the description.
The story has depth . The narrative is fast paced and there is no
slowing down. The description of the details of the events / happenings
brings the characters and the situation right before your eyes.
The whole story is interpreted in a very modern light and that is how the tag line- The epic as it was never told before comes into being justified.
If you are picking up the final part of the trilogy , be sure to read the earlier books to bring more clarity to the story. Else go through the cast of characters before you start and keep referring to them in between to refresh just like I did! Some of the characters in this book come with other names but you will get used to them as you read on.
Also do not have the original Mahabarat events in mind while you start this book. As the author mentioned this is a story that is told differently.
On the whole it was a great read.It is a very gripping tale that will have you clutching the book late into the night.
I would definitely recommend this book not only to those who love mythology but to everyone else who would like to see the epic is another perspective.
Do grab a copy and read this book to have a look at the mythology that is narrated from a different angle.