KRISHNA Tarangam

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Tharoor’s Mahabharat in modern context!

Shashi Tharoor needs no introduction as a politician and writer and his political insights feed the novel with incisive, satirical and  political treats .Great Indian Novel is a treat to all the fans of historical fiction. It is not like a regular historical fiction. True, the author fabricates his plot on the foundation of a historical event (the Mahabharat) but, to him history is a cyclical and not a linear concept. Unlike the regular historical fiction which deals with unearthing a secret or a  perspective alteration of an already-told tale, this novel deals with the continuation of history in the present. The text is replete with humour and sarcasm.To quote Tharoor, "Life is a series of sequels to history."Consequently, his plot forges a connection between the ancient and post-independence  India . Surely, the book tries to justify the age-old adage ,"History repeats itself."Dhritarashtra becomes Pt. Nehru. Pandu becomes Subhash Chandra Bose. The 100 putras of Dhritarashtra become Priya Duryodhani(Indira Gandhi). Karna becomes Jinnah. The names of the places in the novels are equally symbolic . Bengal becomes Gelabin , Kashmir Manimir and Pakistan Karnistan.

 Although the events in  modern India are not a simulacra of the Mahabharat Age yet there is a semblance. No where does the  connection seems strained. I savour reading the character-sketch of young Indira Gandhi.Not to forget, the narrative is fashioned in the manner of the Mahabharat which lends an even more Indian flavour to it. In juxtaposing  and marrying the two ages in history, the author aims at exposing the lackadaisical workings of the Independent India.. The book demands a smattering of the events of  Mahabharat and Independent India from the readers.So, to people who know nothing about it may find themselves in the midst of a flurry of events that make no meaning to them.

Deeksha Sharma



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