Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ajaya- Duryodhana's Mahabharata- By Anand Neelakantan


Mahabharata is a poetically narrated story (rather, history) of war that had happened around 6000 years ago. A story of a plethora of events leading to the war unfolds in every chapter of the epic. While Jaya is the story that tells you the winner's side of the story, Ajaya -Roll of dice and The rise of Kali - series is one of the logical most explanations of the Mahabharata war in the voice of the conquered. I had only heard of Kananda author and poet, Ranna, who had written a version of Mahabharata which is narrated as Suryodhana's story (Gadhaayuddha).

I have got to know the story of Mahabharata by bits and parts since I was in the age I could understand 10 liner stories. The beauty of the humongous epic lies in its ability to decipher itself in smaller stories. We can be told 100's of short stories which can finally be comprehended as the Jaya-Mahabharata. The more we study and research about the topic, the complex this book of epic becomes. With thousands of characters into it, Tretayuga's Mahabharata really has in it a lot to tell us, a lot to teach us, apart from the sacred text of Geeta.

In this war of Dharma, did the war really happen for the sake of Dharma or were the turn of events later termed to be the path to achieve and restore Dharma, owing to the fact that Pandavas won over Kauravas? Story can be told either ways; understood either ways. We all know Krishna to be the eternal God who's mortal life came to an end like a commoner owing to Gandhari's curse. What might have been the other side of the story?? Could the eldest of the Kaurava clan, Suyodhana been a good ruler after all? What if the downfall of the empire became more evident only because of the foolish decisions taken and wrong stances, rather than the Kauravas branded to the demonic evils?

If you have read Mahabharata, you might have wondered why Karna was killed when unarmed, why Drona was killed with a lie and then slayed while in meditating posture, why was Jayadratha killed with the illusion of fall of dusk? Why was Pitamaha Bhishma killed with Shikhandi as an armour, knowing that he would not fight with women or eunuch? Why was Ekalavya killed at all by Krishna? Why did Iravan, naga son of Arjuna die? How can the dying of a woman with her 5 sons in Varanavrata be justified as aapaddharma? How can the killing of nagas like worms in Khandivaprastha through agni be justified as it had medicinal herbs for agni to consume since he had indigestion due to yaaga?

This book tries to answer what might have happened during the period. If you have read the story of Mahabharata already, please do read this one also, to get a different perspective. Anand Neelkanthan doesn't bore you anywhere in the book. The story is woven in such a way that the loose ends in the epic of Mahabharata seem to have tied till the author's efforts and creativity permit. This you can enjoy the most while reading the book. It is a welcome try at deciphering the actual events; trying to reason with what might have happened.

Since research on Mahabharata has left us with solid reasons, places and monuments - sunken Dwaraka, radioactivity of Kurukshetra, and temples of various Mahabharata characters within India and beyond, what really might have led to the war is always a wild guess to think. Here's a nice try from Anand Neelkanthan worth reading and a subject to mull over for days later.
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