Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Review : Karna's Wife - The Outcast's Queen ( Kavita Kane )

(Groan). Yet another Mahabharata !! Yep it is, but can it ever go out of relevance ? For the tussle between good and evil, not just the ones in the absolute sense but the ones that co-exist within each one of us. is a never-ending one. (Yet another groan). But for now, you can just put the groanfest on hold. A refreshingly new take on the epic by one of the lesser known characters, this one is sure to hold you spellbound. As I have always maintained, there can be as many versions to this epic as there were characters in what is considered as one of the holiest books of Hindu mythology. A different perspective for each character.

Coming back to the book that I am about to review, I very much thank Kavita Kane for this delightful read. The way she has portrayed Uruvi is commendable. There could have been many shades to this character like Uruvi the daughter, Uruvi the princess and Uruvi the mother . But her sole focus is on Uruvi the wife. And every chapter beautifully captures or reveals emotions that can only be witnessed by a wife/lover. Love, jealousy, hatred, insecurity and so on. The author has left no stone unturned as she explores the gamut of emotions that any wife is capable of.

Relinquishing her Kshatriya status, Uruvi follows the footsteps of the man that she has so helplessly fallen in love with. Her sense of righteousness compels her to choose him over Arjuna at the Swayamvar, a step that only serves to earns her the scorn of the people that she grew up with. As the 'Pariah's wife',she discovers a 'cruelly superficial' world that she had not been able to recognize earlier. But to her credit, she takes everything in stride and finds succor with the man she loves. Till, the disgrace of Draupadi in the royal court of Hastinapur. That moment changes her life for ever.

Apart from her regular banterings with Karna, there are two chapters on the book that I thoroughly enjoyed. One is when Uruvi seeks forgiveness from Draupadi. And the other one is a discussion between herself and Bhanumati (Duryodhan's wife). Ofcourse, there is the monologue where she vents her frustrations at Kunti. 

The battle of Kurukshetra is well depicted with the inclusion of minute details and thankfully without indulging in too much gore. However, if I had to pick a single flaw in this narration, it would be the continued maligning of Draupadi's character. Is it not bad enough that the poor female was tricked into marrying five men by a mother-in-law that she continues to be dangled as a piece of meat in front of Karna ? The insinuation of being the 'ultimate temptation' sounds rather crass when hurled at this wretched woman blessed with five spineless husbands and who ultimately loses her five children in he war. The germ of  an idea, that of Draupadi's infatuation/love with Karna, was sown by Prativa Ray in 'Yagnaseni' and I am appalled that author after author continues to nurture it. At this rate I won't be surprised if at some point in the future, an enterprising new author would come up with the idea that the battle of Kurukhetra was fought to win back Draupadi who had chosen to elope with Karna ( something on the lines of the Trojan war ). 

1 comment:

  1. very interesting one... and a well laid out review Sweta... :-)