Book Review of Panchalir Atmakotha
by Prarthana Gogoi
(Tinsukia, Assam, India)
Panchalir Atmakotha, A Novel written by Kavyashree Mahanta and pubslished by Purbanchal Prakash, Guwahati
'Panchalir Atmakotha' is a novel penned down by the prolific writer Kavyashree Mahanta delving deep into the central female epic character of 'The Mahabharata', Panchali known as Droupadi also. Breaking the myths several times, the novelist incorporates her imagination with the details depicted in the epic intelligently while following the techniques of reconstruction. This is the fourth novel of the author. Besides being a novelist, she is good at writing short stories, poems, and articles on various socio-cultural themes.
The novelist is quite successful in depicting the central character of the novel, Panchali. Hardly a good reader can leave it without finishing it. According to the epic description, Draupadi is born in a 'jangya' whereas here the novelist depicts her birth in a hardworking community. Hence she is well known to the hard and struggling life of the common people. Moreover, during Vaastaharan by Dushasana, the scene is not shown by divine intervention by ShreeKrishna. It is shown in Mahabharata that Panchali is saved by Lord Krishna from disgrace. But in the novel Panchali is saved by the people of Hastinapur. By challenging the age old concept of Krishna as a saviour of Panchali, the writer has established mass power as superior.
The story is described from Panchali's point of view; a reader finds it quite interesting to move with the story. The plot revolves around Panchali's birth, her swamvar, her marriage to the Panchapandavas, her pain and agony during the Vaanvas period, her self introspection in judging the morals of panchapandavas, especially Dharmaraj Judhisthir, and her husbands' sacrifice for long waited victory. Shri Krishna is present throughout the plot as a torch bearer to the Pandavas. Most interestingly the novelist is quite successful in depicting the plight of the common people during war. The plot ends with Kurukhetra war, the victory of good over evil. Undoubtedly the novelist is successful in portraying the character of Panchali in a realistic way. *****