Book Review- Arjuna

From the blurb:

Arjuna is the immortal tale of one of India’s greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of his loves, friendship, ambitions, weaknesses and follies, as well as his untimely death and revival, his stint as a eunuch, and the innermost reaches of his thoughts. Told in a refreshingly modern and humorous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjuna’s story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from before his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that was his life.


My thoughts:

I am not much of a history reader. In fact, I loathed the subject at school 🙂 !! All I know about our epics are what I’ve gathered from little stories that my grandmother narrated to me in bed, watching the Ramayana and Mahabharata on National Television(aka Doordarshan) as a child, or by reading out  C Rajagopalachari’s translation of the Mahabharata to my grandfather when he was in bed.

All I knew about Arjuna  the warrior prince  before I started reading this book was this – He was the third of the Pandavas , born to Pandu and Kunti . Married to Draupadi, he, along with Krishna, are considered heroes in India and various other parts of Asia until today. Stories of their friendship, how they played a key role in influencing the outcome of the  battle covered in the epic Mahabharata  capture the imagination of millions of Asians even today. The bible of Hinduism ,better known here as  the “Bhagavad Gita”  is a part of this epic. Most of it is a conversation between Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

The cover of this book caught my eye at the new arrivals section in the Library .And for some reason, I couldn’t resist reading it after I went through the blurb.

The book , as I see it , is an attempt at narrating the life story of Arjuna  , the Asian Warrior Prince. It talks about his birth, ambitions, loves, strengths, weaknesses, friendships, enemies,valour ,arrogance and death. What I liked about the book is that the author does not make any attempt whatsoever to treat Arjuna as divine anywhere despite being his ardent fan. Instead, she focuses on the fact that despite being blessed with divine powers, he was human too. Just like all of us, he had his strengths, and follies. He was arrogant sometimes, humble at other times. Most of the book (Rather all of it) is written against the backdrop of the epic Mahabharata. In fact, one could say that this book is a more concise version of the epic. The narration however, does not take its beauty away. The language and narration used surely makes this one a page turner .

After reading the blurb, one starts reading expecting it to cover our warrior’s life in great detail, and keeps looking for lesser known facts about him . People like me who are not really into history and know very less about it might find it a bit interesting. But to the scholars who’ve read Veda Vyasa’s epic , it would probably just be a concise version of the story- the story re told in about 350 pages. The book is priced at about Rs 250 . Worth a read if you’re not into reading much of history!!



9 thoughts on “Book Review- Arjuna

  1. Arjun, the legendary hero, has many stories woven around him. But then, I always like to know what a modern and contemporary author thinks about the hero and his persona. After reading your fine review, I want to pick up this book.

  2. I wonder what does the book offers in terms of story. I mean, I know the story so why should I pick it unless it throws some unknown dimension of the prince?

    • I never read the epic or showed interest in doing so until now . I didn’t really think the story five men who let their wife get molested in public would interest me too much ! :D. I only knew the gist and summary of it . I only started watching its illustration on a south indian channel out of curiosity to see what’s so great and heroic about these five men, and ended up spotting this book at the local library i visit on weekends by pure coincidence. What I liked is that for once, the Author has treated Arjuna as human and has explored his follies and strengths rather than treating him as divine. I also liked the way she’s portrayed his rival Karna in a good light, stressing on the fact that while both were equal in strength, Destiny smiled on the hero and frowned on his rival. Due to my so called dis interest and ignorance I didn’t know some things about Arjuna . I didn’t know he had four wives, or that the pride he took in himself would end up being his strength and weakness. People who’ve read the entire epic may not like this book too much.

  3. Nice reading about you

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