Yuganta – Irawati Karve


So, I was on a reading spree these past few days and finished a few books, which I will mention here. Seems like January is going to be about book posts only. But I dar say, I wont pick up new ones until I finish the work I have n hand because once I am in a book, I cheat on everything else.

So, Yuganta is a reinterpretation of the Mahabharat charcaters. It is essentially a critical analysis. Basically, it is about finidng faults in the characters is what seems on the outside. But actually, the author has tried to put the actions and the history in social and anthropological context of that time. She has also pointed out incongruencies and tried to tell us that how the present day epic which is Mahabharat came into existence. The actions are justified or criticized keeping in mind the social conditions that had prevailed today.

It makes for a very interesting read but one has to have atleast a cursory knowledge of Mahabharat before reading it. What struck me especially was the special criticism fo Bhishma for his inactions and supposed irresponsibility by taking the responsibilities he could not perform. Draupadi is criticized for the fact that when she was dishonored in the court in front of everyone, instead of begging to leave her alone she was fighting about legalities of whethere Yudhistira had the right to stake her. What I find absurd is that the author here has failed to consider the mental state she must have been in . In such a situation one could not really think straight and evaluate what is best for her. What one could do is fight against injustice and that is what she did. She also pointed that she should not have spoken where so many grown men were present according to the custom of those days. But is that a fault?? I wonder.

Except these things, I liked the way of critically analyzing the epic and mostly the chapters on Karna and Vausdeva Krishna. Arjuna struck me as the most authentic person and Yudhisthira as someone who is heavily burdened by the expectations from him.

All in all, it was an interesting read.

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