BOOK REVIEWS

DURYODHANA

The main description of Duryodhana in the great epic, Mahabharata is of his deviousness, obstinacy and greed for power that would bring about the battle of Kurukshetra, and his own downfall. But was there more to him? What was he? True heir or pretender of the throne? Greatest villains of all times or a prince protecting his rajadharma? History, they say, is written by victors. And victors paint themselves larger than life. In this book the epic’s perplexing wrongdoer finally has his say. It is the crown prince of Hastinapura as the world has never known him, adding yet another facet to the labyrinth that is the Mahabharata.

The central theme of the book suggests that nobody is perfect. No one is completely black or white; every human born on the Earth is grey. Neither were Yudhisthira and Kunti too pure and nor was Duryodhana only a sinner. Veda Vyasa was partial. Of course, he can be. He is human too. But then why is his account said to be the actual epic? Why is his account considered the ultimate truth? There is a need to set mythological history right and correct the distorted balance. The book serves this purpose very well.

You would often come across people bearing the names of the Pandavas, Draupadi or Krishna. Have you ever come across a Duryodhana or a Dushasana? It is because they have come to hold negative associations. If the meanings were not good why would Gandhari name her son’s such? The book subscribes to the theory that their names have been changed.

I would recommend this book to all of you who are avid book readers. This is a great piece of literature. The Mahabharata already portrays the Pandavas as purest men on the Earth yet we are ready to read their views then why not Duryodhana’s, who has been wronged the most by being portrayed as only evil? Wouldn’t you like a new point of view?
This book is an arrow that will break all fixed mindsets people have. Sheer genius!

Suhani Kumar
Student Reporter
November-2016