An Illustrated Retelling of Mahabharata
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
A son renounces sex so that his old father can remarry
A daughter is a prize in an archery contest
A teacher demands half a kingdom as his tuition fee
A student is turned away because of his caste
A mother asks her sons to share a wife
A father curses his son-in-law to be old and impotent
A husband lets another man make his wife pregnant
A wife blindfolds herself to share her husband’s blindness
A forest is destroyed for a new city
A family is divided over inheritance
A king gambles away his kingdom
A queen is forced to serve as a maid
A man is stripped of his manhood for a year
A woman is publicly disrobed
A war is fought where all rules are broken
A shift in sexuality secures victory
The vanquished go to paradise
The victors lose their children
The earth is bathed in blood
God is cursed
Until wisdom prevails.
Growing up in India, that too in a joint family, where reading books is a way of life, I knew the stories of Mahabharata. And somehow I always was more interested in Mahabharata than any other mythological story simply because it had complex characters, interesting story lines, struggle of power etc etc, unlike others where good and bad characters were defined.
Also, picked this book for the book blurb.
Jaya: An illustrated retelling of Mahabharata has the condensed version of the original epic. Each story is written in two – three pages with special author notes at the end detailing what the story signified and how it has changed over the period of time.
This is a very basic book, for someone who wants to know what the epic is all about, the book has all the stories but it only has the crux.
The writing is very simple, even the most beginner level readers would have no issues reading it, the book is filled with illustrations that are all drawn by Mr. Pattanaik himself.
The book, just as its title contains the no-frills version of the original epic. It does not glorify Pandavas, nor does it portray the Kauravas as the “bad” guys, they are just shown as they were.
If you have already read the original Mahabharata, you might find this a little over simplified, but for someone who have just heard random stories and watched TV shows, this book was a perfect way to enter into this genre.