Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Read Review: Rise of Kali: Duryodhana's Mahabharata (Ajaya-Epic of the Kaurava Clan, Book II)

Rise of Kali: Duryodhana's Mahabharata (Ajaya-Epic of the Kaurava Clan, Book II) by
Paperback, 530 pages
Published July 29th 2015 by Platinum Press (first published June 21st 2015)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

of the Pandavas, told from the perspective of the victors of Kurukshetra, Ajaya is the tale of the
Kauravas, who were decimated to the last man. From the pen of the author who gave voice to
Ravana in the national bestseller, ASURA, comes the riveting narrative which compels us to question
the truth behind the Mahabharata.

THE DARK AGE OF KALI IS RISING and every man and woman must choose between duty
and conscience, honour and shame, life and death…

o The Pandavas, banished to the forest following the disastrous games of dice, return
to Hastinapura.
o Draupadi has vowed not to bind her hair till she washes it in the blood of the Kauravas.
o Karna must choose between loyalty and gratitude, friend and Guru.
o Aswathama undertakes a perilous mission to the mountains of Gandhara, in search of the
Evil One.
o Kunti must decide between her firstborn and her other sons.
o Guru Drona has to stand with either his favourite disciple or his beloved son.
o Balarama, having failed to convince his brother about the adharma of violence, walks the
streets of Bharatavarsha, spreading the message of peace.
o Ekalavya is called to make the ultimate sacrifice to uphold a woman’s honour.
o Jara, the beggar, sings of Krishna’s love while his blind dog, Dharma, follows.
o Shakuni can almost see the realization of his dream to destroy India.

As the Pandavas stake their claim to the Hastinapura throne, the Kaurava Crown Prince, Suyodhana,
rises to challenge Krishna. As great minds debate dharma and adharma, power hungry men prepare
for an apocalyptic war. The women, highborn and humble, helplessly watch the unfolding disaster
with deep foreboding. And greedy merchants and unscrupulous priests lie in wait like vultures.
Both sides know that beyond the agony and carnage the winner will take all. But even as gods
conspire and men’s destinies unfold, a far greater truth awaits.
I have been waiting for this book since the day I finished reading Book-I. Once again my heart went to Karna. Suyodhana, the misunderstood and misinterpreted hero, made me sad. As I had siad in my review of Book-I (Read my review of Ajaya-Epic of the Kaurava Clan; Book 1-Roll of the Dice), I have never been a fan of the Pandavas and I love to hear the other side of the story. Shakuni and Krishna are the ultimate manipulators, who are kind of still manipulating mankind.

It is really interesting to see how the author narrates the mythological aspects like boons and magical weapons in a believable and possible way. Like the part where Arjuna is supposed to meet Shiva and ask for his bow, Duryodhana being beaten by Bhima when striked on his thighs and so on. It is an advantage if you know the conventional Mahabharata or at least some stories of it. That way the story becomes more amusing as well as interesting.

Ajaya would leave the readers wondering what is dharma and what is adharma. What dharma means to one might actually be adharma to another. Both the Kauravas and Pandavas believed that dharma was on their sides. I seriously fail to understand that the Pandavas who defeated the great warriors on the side of Kauravas by sheer cunning and cheat, can be called righteous. The following quotes are mentioned at the beginning of the book:

I loved afterword on dharma at the end of the book. The author says "The greatness of Vedavyasa's work is in the questions it evokes every time we read it, rather than in the answers given by preachers who reduce it to a simplistic tales of good versus evil". The fight between dharma and adharma is eternal and the dilemma concerning both rings true in any age.

1 comment:

  1. loved it....i have read many portions of mahabharat, and true as u rightly said, it's just not a tale of good versus evil, its the questions it poses, the dharma reflected by one being an adharm to other and the biggest truth indeed to the epic "the biggest manipulator in the name of truth-krishna himself"


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