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Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review : 'Rise of Kali : Duryodhana's Mahabharata' by Anand Neelakantan



‘Rise of Kali : Duryodhana’s Mahabharata’ is definitely a class act. Anand Neelakantan has outdone himself in this book. Not only is his research meticulous, but his understanding of the original book is clear and empathetic. 

Okay, now for the review. The cast of characters is well laid out, and also an explanation, as to why exactly the 'defeated' were chosen to lead the book. 

He even offers a prelude to the book. It is an excellent idea, as it gives us an idea into where exactly we are in ‘Ajaya’. I usually do not see authors offering similar preludes, but this time, it felt kind of right.

Basically, this story runs into ‘Shame’, which Draupadi had to face during the run of the story. Draupadi was summoned, after the defeat of the Pandavas, in the game of dice. We are introduced to the entire Kauarva outlook in the entire scene. Of course, there can be no justification for how the Kauravas and Karna dealt with Draupadi, and am glad to read, that the author does not offer to help the Kauravas and therefore does not offer any explanation for the atrocities, thus committed.

Moving on, we find the Pandavas in the forest, and the Kauravas taking over the administration of Hastinapura. The story ‘Mahabharata’, through the painting of the Pandavas in a good light and the Kauravas in a negative shade, and Krishna in the exalted light had done its bit, but ‘Ajaya : Rise of the Kaurava Clan’ comes in at exactly the right time.

Because of offering to put up the Kauravas, in probably a much better light, including the one about Suyodhana’s temple and Karna’s righteousness, this book definitely fills the gap, which helps make Mahabharata complete.

Due to its offerings of instances such as Krishna’s treatment of his son, Ekalavya’s treatment of Suryodhana’s daughter, the encounter between Kunti and Karna and the ‘help’ it receives from Krishna. We also cannot miss Suyodhana’s understanding of the caste rules and his wish to offer, much more to the downtrodden, the conversations between Suyodhana and Bhishma and later between Karna and Bhishma, all offered to us in a believable and fascinating light.

Anand Neelakantan

While it is not for me to judge the correctness of the facts, I can only say that this book has definitely opened my eyes, all over again. To think that the other side also has a tale, and seeing the duty and conscience of everyone else, and also the honour and shame they went through, with the intermingling of the caste and dharma rules, offering the book a much needed analytical perspective. 

Also, loved the perspective of the entire need of the war, according to Krishna and the conversation, it evokes between him and Balarama and also one of 'Gita', as a conversation between Arjuna and Krishna.

‘Rise of Kali’ is not meant to be put down, without giving the whole thing a good read and the whole situation, which the Kauravas had to go through a proper and much needed understanding. According to me, this book deserves an A + and much more…


Author : Anand Neelakantan
Imprint : Leadstart Publishing
ISBN : 978-93-81576-04-5
Price : Rs 399/-


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