JAYA: AN ILLUSTRATED RETELLING OF THE MAHABHARATA by DEVDUTT PATTANIK(book review)
July 8, 2011 § 2 Comments
Crisp, precise, informative and gripping!
While Vedas and Upanishads are the ‘backbone’, epics such as Mahabharta and Ramayana are the nerves of our ‘culture’. In his telling of Mahabaratha as ‘Jaya : An Illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata’,the author informs, educates and makes sense of the massive story in a little over 350 pages.
The book has each of the important events in simple paras with the author’s interpretation(and two cents) following it. The book moves along nice and quick with the events that have the major baring on the great war.
Don’t expect to be enlightened the book is lesser about that and more about giving a quick account of the epic to people who haven’t heard about the epic. One nice thing about the book is that the author has collected tales from different regions of India and other countries such as Indonesia and included them in his ‘explanation’.
The book is also illustrated(by the author himself), but it probably would have been a better idea to have images from famous artists, considering the book is a 2 minute version of the epic probably aimed to impress.
Personally, I liked the book, it was like brushing up through the Mahabharata. The tales from across the country and abroad add value to the narrative. The book is pretty much no frills and does not try to glorify the Pandavas overtly. The author stays true to being impartial and provides a balanced view of the epic. It is easier to see cause and effect, especially with the author reminding us of the same, time and again.
The book was a gripping read no doubt. It had been a while since I read anything regarding our mythology and thus it was a reminder of the moralistic uncertainties and the essence of the epic. Read it if you want to remind yourselves about the Mahabharata. A quick and effective version of the epic, it cuts straight to the point albeit with some of the magic being lost.