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Book: The Mahabharat Re-Imagined

The Mahabharat Re-Imagined written by Trisha Das and published by Rupa Publications is a collection of scenes from the Mahabharata and they have been interpreted by the author based on her level of thinking and imagination. One of the reasons for the universal and eternal appeal of the Mahabharat is that it allows a reader the freedom of interpretation and to suggest an explanation or criticize a character’s behavior.

Trisha Das imagines how her Draupadi in Mahabharata would have behaved, if she was asked to marry the five Pandava brothers.

'Do you ask that my body, worshipped by my father's subjects and untouched by any man, now succumb to five men? Draupadi waved her hands wildly as she inched closer to Kunti, her shrill voice resounding off the walls, 'I would rather jump into the river and drown myself. At least I would die a princess, not a prostitute.'

The author has taken such liberties with many scenes in the Mahabharata.

Some of her other imaginations are

Was Princess Draupadi in a one-sided love with Krishna even as her marriage to another man was being orchestrated?

Did the great statesman Bhishma make a shameful admission that he was wrong to side the Kauravas as he lay dying on the battlefield of Kurukshetra?

Did Queen Gandhari cause the death of her husband Dhritarashtra and sister-in-law Kunti by starting a forest fire?

Was Karna the son of Sage Durvasa?

There are hundreds of books that are based on the re-imagination of the Mahabharata. But only a very few of them have been able to convince the readers. This is because majority of them are not based on detailed study but tries to play with the emotions of the readers or the sympathy of the readers for a particular character.

An example of the re-imagination of the Mahabharata that has the power to convince the reader is a book titled ‘Randamoozham’ written by the Jnanapith award winner M T Vasudevan Nair. Originally written in Malayalam, the book has been translated and published in English under the title ‘Second Turn.’ The book tries to interpret the important events in the Mahabharat and relationship between the characters through the eyes of Bhima, the second Pandava brother.

Author – Trisha Das
Published by Rupa Publications
Price – Rs/- 95