Author Anand Neelakantan
Rise of Kali, takes on the story from where Ajay stops.
In novel proper begins at the court of the Kuru kings, where the gambling takes place.
Kunti’s manipulation to ensure that weak ineffective first born is safe comes across very vibrantly. I wondered how the author would redeem his hero in the stripping scenario, he brings out a very important aspect that if Yuddishtra is willing to accept his mistake in gambling, he will return all that was lost in the stakes. Interestingly Suyoddhana does not ask Drauipadi to apologize either to him or to Karna.
The iconized Bhishma’s greatness has a very selfish undertone, the need to remain great. The varnashrama demanded that he moves to the forest, but Bhishma hangs on as regent of Hastinapur.
The authors southern roots voice their presence when places Parashurama in the south, interestingly he continues with the myth of Parashurama being immortal. However I do not know how the author missed the structure of the west coast, where the northern of version of the caste system did not exist till the British.
Kiap acharya asks do these princes know that they are gambling their destiny is quite an interesting way of putting it.
Then incident of the Valsala eloping with Abhimanyu the interpretation was just amazing. Again, when it came to Samba groping Lakshmana Suyoddhana’sdaugther the author’s research falls short as blouses or even kanchukiya made its appearance only in the Gupta period.
The Kiratarjuniyam legend is again well adapted. Yuyustu the righteous son of Dritharashtra who took sides with the pandavas becomes a vaishya power broker and king maker in the narrative.
The traditional image of a Vidhura being the advisor, living in all affluence takes a beating here.
Balaram is depicted as the apostle of peace from the coast of Gujarat, who sounds very much like the eulogy for Gandhi.
There is a very interesting conversation between Krishna and Balarama, which the author accepts as his own, though sounded very much like a new age guru and follower conversation. Was there a Suyoddhana hidden within Yuddhishtra, as was a Yuddhistra hidden within Suyoddhana.
The author does not directly address the oft appearing question on why Kunti did not accept Karna as her son, though she accepted her step sons as her own. All the same the author does have Karna questioning Kunti if she told her sons about him.
Instead of the choice of choosing between Krishna and his army the Naryana sena here opts to fight wit Suyoddana as they believe that he stands for dharma.
The Fanatic Dhaumya,’s killing of Arjuna’s son Aravana, the death of ghatotgaja, take on hues of exclusion and not inclusion. While the triad of Suyoddana the Kshatriya, Ashwatama the Brahmin standing by Karna the suta seems more inclusive.
I have heard many versions of the of the caste hierarchy, but Brahmans the knowledge, Kshatriya the action, vaishya the devotion and shudra the sensory pleasure is a new one.
The words. that really hit hard was the temple breaking tells us tat the people who cared for us were no more alive.– I wept, when I read that.
Interesting Folk references,
- The conversation between Udaya Bharati – Madana Mishra and Shankara acharya .
- The cult of Aravana.
This book was a complimentary copy given by the author for reviewing.
Please re-read Ajaya, the roll of dice before you read this, to get the entire experience.