The story of Mahabharata how much ever old it is, reading the epic always gives a new perspective towards the characters present in it. Many times the tale of Mahabharatha is conceived from the Pandavas point of view and Krishna’s managing power. The same has been accepted since ages. Coming to the new generations also, it has been a tradition in pursuing Pandavas on the good side and Kauravas on the evil side. Though when seen on a superficial level, it appears to be true, a more matured and scholastic approach of every character in the epic has shaken the literary alumni and great thinkers.
For example, the work of famous Odia writer, Pratibha Ray gave a new dimension on the life and character of Draupadi. Later, the book ‘ Palace of Illusions ‘ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has again brought a new leapt of thoughts. Likewise, my take on the character study of every character whose notes is available has given a different impression for what I have been taught and explained.
It was in 2011 when I was watching the famous Tamil movie of Maniratnam, Thalapathi that starred superstars like Rajinikanth and Mammotty gave a feeling of relationship between Karna and Duryodhana. It was then when I discussed with my friend, he explained that my point was right. The movie depicts the great bond of friendship between Karna and Duryodhana. It was the point when my urge to read more about Karna increased. The more I read, I more I was feeling sorry for him emotionally.
Since the time of his birth, he faced struggles. Those struggles are even hard to explain. His own mother disowned him. He was raised by another couple. He was cursed by his teacher Parashurama for the mistake he dint commit. He was discriminated by Dronacharya whom he treated as a pinnacle of wisdom and knowledge in the whole court when he participated in the challenge along with Pandavas and Kauravas. He was humiliated by Bhima. Though Krishna knew Karna’s true identity, he never helped him. The amount of hatred and bias showed towards Karna killed his soul inch by inch until the worst day when Kunti, his biological mother asked to swear that he will forgo killing any of her sons.
The above is all the story every one of us knows. But, the beauty in this book explained in the next segment.
Inside the book
The Shining Warrior by Ajinkya Deshmukh here showcases Karna in a very endearing and empathetic way. The book is written in a colloquial poetry format which is a smooth read. A reader who is well aware of the tale of Mahabharata can relate it to the book. But, for the readers who have a clear understanding of Karna’s character without any prejudice will love the book.
The book starts with the birth of Karna, is explained beautifully, and the poem flashes like a surreal experience in front of the reader’s eyes. Not many book attempt to show the vulnerable and softer side of the greatest Warrior Karna, but here author’s expression of Karna has smitten me. The one who reads cannot help falling in love with Karna for his good virtues and cannot ever stop the wreck of heart for the sadness he endured at every stage of life. The above said contrasting emotions and feelings are very intrinsically drafted in the form of poems in this book.
There are three poems which I will relish until I read a new book on Karna.
The poem ‘Wheel they call you’ explains his first encounter with a wheel, which later became his toy of play and finally the weapon to his death. This poem is one of the best I found because of the metamorphosis of a non-living thing called wheel that made Karna’s life turn and end! Author Ajinkya’s extremely expressible words explained Karna’s joy and pain wonderfully.
The poem ‘ Like a string to the bow ‘ explains Karna’s love and respect towards bow and arrows. Author Ajinkya’s expression of explaining on how to mount an arrow to the above explaining in parallel how man must bow down to every other force of nature, the however great and strong one is extremely fantastic.
In the poem, ‘ My own blood ‘ is rendered during the time when the young Abhimanyu, Arjuna’s son, stood before Karna to fight. In this poem author, Ajinkya has very compassionately explained the ambiguity and discomfort to fight with his own son. The pain is explained very well in the poem.
Every poem in the book has had a great effect on me. Many thanks and kudos to the author for penning this book. The book cover page,the language, the index of characters, the font and the page indentation are very comfortable and good.
Book Title: The Shining Warrior
Author Name : Ajinkya Deshmukh
Reviewed By: Swapna Peri