Ajaya ‘The Epic of The Kaurava Clan’ Book 1
by Simran Arora
(New Delhi, India)
The verse of the book is easy and readable. However, the book can be boring for those who aren’t a fan of mythology or magical realism. It all felt to be real until some magic happened in the book.
The book is from the side of Kaurava Clan. The ‘role of dice’ as written on the cover is the last chapter of the book from where the story actually starts and the things change from here. Before this chapter, there was the building about characters, and their relationships, mindsets, and their personal dwellings. But soon, everything got vanished with their ego, and soon turned out as a war called ‘Mahabharta’. It wasn’t a war for power but a war for ego.Introduction-
Though, there are a lot of characters in the book, as most of us know, still, let me introduce you about the characters but I won’t tell about the roles of everyone.
The characters are as follows :
1. Dhritrashtra (the blind king of the kingdom, Hastinapur, and the elder brother)
2. Gandhari (the king queen of the kingdom, Hastinapur and the mother of Duryodhana, Sushasana and other 98 kauravas)
3. Suyodhana (called Duryodhana, the rightful heir of the kingdom Hastinapur)
4. Pandu (the younger brother and the impotent)
5. Kunti (the wife of Pandu, the impotent and the mother of five pandavas)
6. Yudhishtra, Bhishma, Arjun, Nakul and Sachdeva (the five pandavas)
7. Draupadi (the wife of five pandavas)
8. Shakuni (the queen’s brother)
9. Bhishma (The grand regent of the King)
10. Vidhura (the prime minister, an untouchable)
11. Karna (The son of a charioteer, a Suta)
12. Eklavya (the Nishada, a caste lower than the Suta)
13. Drona (the guru of pandavas, and kauruvas)
14. Aswathama (the son of Drona and a closest friend of Duryodhana)
15. Kripa (a guru who is friend with each caste and is despised by other brahmins and priests)
16. Parashurama (the learned Brahmin and the supreme leader of Southern confederate)
17. Balrama (the yadava leader)
18. Krishna (a common man seen as God and an avatar of Vishnu)
19. Subhadra (lover of Suyodhana but married to Arjuna; Arjuna’s second wife)
20. Durjaya ( a crime lord with Shakuni’s presence)
Both the Pandavas and the Kauravas are kshatriyas, that is, both of them belong to the warrior caste.Themes of the book –
The book is more than a story. You can read the book and can get the idea of the greatest war in Indian Mythology, that is, Mahabharata, but we should move forward to the themes which you may or may not notice or you may notice but you ignore them.
Though, I am totally aware that myths cannot be questioned. They follow a bricolage method, which is, they are open-ended. I’m not making a truth or false connection to the things in the book, I am only stating some things.
The themes are as follows :
1. Caste Hierarchy
2. A woman considered as a property
3. Women taking prestige because of their gender
Firstly, the caste hierarchy.
The book follows the caste hierarchy
and believes that one should follow the caste in which they are born.
1. Brahmins (the knowledge seekers and teachers)
2. Kshatriyas (the warriors)
3. Vaidhyas (the merchant, traders, or business men)
4. Shudras (the untouchables – suta and nishada)
Karna, who is a Suta in the book, is actually the first son of Kunti which means he is the right heir of the kingdom of Hastinapur. She had to give him away because he was born before her marriage. He wasn’t born with a physical or sexual contact but he was the son of Sun God. Here, we welcome the magic realism. Karna is not appreciated in the book except by his friends, Kripa, and the Yadava leader, Balrama. He is not appreciated by others for being a warrior, because as a Suta he took the mask as a kshatriya and took knowledge from a brahmin.
Duryodhana, earlier known as Suyodhana, was the one who questioned scriptures, vedas and was considered as a bad pupil in the eyes of Drona and other Pandavas. Why? Because he questioned and didn’t adhere to rules. He didn’t obey as he wanted to build a society with equality or democracy without any reservations. He wanted to establish capitalism as done by the legend mythic character “Mahabali” or “Ravana”. The merit would be totally based on your efficiency, talent and intelligence. In some terms, Arjuna was the same as Duryodhana, only he never questioned the rules and regulations and if he did, he was made silent by Krishna, Kunti or his brother, Yudhishtra. However, Arjuna forgot to be a man of his discipline in the name of Dharma.
Secondly, a woman is merely considered a property, to be bid in ‘swayamvar’ by a man who will win her with intelligence, wisdom and then he would be eligible to take the girl. The age of the man doesn’t matter. But, here is the twist. Even if a Suta wins the girl, he cannot marry her because he is a lower caste. It was Karna who won Draupadi, but she didn’t marry him because he was a Suta but she married Arjuna, who later didn’t fight for her when his mother asked to divide the beautiful girl among his brothers to maintain the unity.
Thirdly, women like Kunti preached about women empowerment, yet asked her sons to divide Draupadi among them. She did with the fear of jealousy amongst brothers and questioning their loyalty towards each other. Rather preaching about her loneliness, Kunti could have been a woman to play politics with her wit and intelligence, rather playing dirty cold war politics with Gandhari.
If the cold war hadn’t been there, if Draupadi would have accepted Karna, if Duryodhana’s ideas would have been respected, if Gandhari wouldn’t have blindfolded her eyes, if Kunti had accepted Karna as her child, if everything had fallen in place, the Mahabharatha would never had happened.
The book ‘Ajaya’ had been all about a different perspective and a different side of the story. A mistake was made on every part which lead to the greatest war in Hindu Mythology. ***