The Winds of Hastinapur Author: Sharath komarraju ISBN 978-93-5116-087-8 Publisher Harper Collins I have not enjoyed a book so much in a long time. Krishna here’s the Queen’s rival, a bard of another kind. The author narrates the oft sung story of Great War, but it is through the eyes of the women. Consciously or unconsciously the author has drawn deeply from the Devi Bhagawatam and the shakti cult. The fundamental concept of Devi Bhagawatam, of eternal balance if good happens somewhere it is at the cost of negative happening elsewhere, for goddess does not play favourite, she exacts her price sometime, somewhere. The story of Mahabharata is not the story of men, but also the story of women. It is the story of the decline of an era. The author opens the story at a point where Ganga is cursed by the Gods for an earthly life. He takes us through the well-known corridors of Mahabharata. Narrating the story of Ganga, he talks of the matrilineal genealogy. He has brought forth some really interesting concepts and descriptions like the description of teenaged Devrata, he does not eulogize him as embodiment of great looks, and he describes a genuinely awkward teenage boy. The celestial lake, being energized with the energy of dead humans, another very interesting concept. The negativity of the demigods, manifesting as disease on the earth is another interesting concept. The author has every subtly used the Matsya Nyaya, or the law of the jungle more respectably called survival of the fittest. The women Ganga and Sathyavati court their man Shantanu in a very pre-Aryan form, where women demanded sex from men, and if a man refused he sinned. The pre-puritanical acceptance of multiple partners, marriage being independent of sex and childbearing emerges through the book without apologies or justification or elaborate explanation. Of course there were some goof ups like children of the fisher folk going to the same school because the education system then was gurukula, so going to the same school didn’t happen unless they were looking for identical skill sets. The vaishya, shudra learning happened in the months of the monsoon when work at the fields was not possible. Bhishma here is not the glorified hero, but a king despite of not crowned one.
The concept of virginity as Sathyavati perceives it is an eye opener. “Being pure in thought and action. Being unafraid as long as your action has nothing immoral about them.” But Sharath your story is incomplete without the story of Kunti, Draupadi, being said.
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