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Dwapar Katha: Captivating Tales from the Mahabharata by Sudipta Bhawmik. Book Review

Dwapar Katha: The Stories of the Mahabharata

Author: Sudipta Bhawmik

Cover and Illustrations by Onkar Fondekar

Genre: Scriptures

Published by Harper Collins India

Pages: 590

MRP: Rs. 599/-

Book review in association with Blog Chatter and HarperCollins India


Introduction: The book is an adaptation of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, by Sudipta Bhawmik, a writer and podcaster. The book is based on the scripts of the podcast episodes that Bhawmik narrated and produced with his colleague Avi Ziv. The book aims to present the epic in a simple and engaging way, without imposing any interpretations or inventions on the original narrative. The book covers the entire story of the Mahabharata, from the beginning to the end, in 77 chapters. The book also features superb illustrations and cover by Onkar Fondekar, a graphic designer and artist, who captures the essence and mood of the epic with his vibrant and expressive style.( Some examples at the end of the review)

Summary: The book follows the chronology of the Mahabharata, starting with the origin of the Kuru dynasty and the birth of the main characters: the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the cousins who fought for the throne of Hastinapur. The book narrates the events that led to the conflict, such as the education and rivalry of the princes, the marriage of Draupadi to the five Pandavas, the exile and disguise of the Pandavas, and the failed attempts at diplomacy and peace. The book then describes the epic war of Kurukshetra, where the Pandavas, with the help of Krishna, defeated the Kauravas and their allies. The book also depicts the aftermath of the war, the grief and guilt of the survivors, the coronation of Yudhishthira as the king, and the final departure of the Pandavas and Krishna from the world.

Themes: The book explores various themes that are relevant to the human condition, such as dharma (duty, morality, justice), karma (action, consequence, destiny), free will, loyalty, friendship, family, love, honor, courage, wisdom, power, greed, envy, pride, anger, forgiveness, and redemption. The book shows how the characters struggle with their choices and dilemmas, and how they face the consequences of their actions. The book also illustrates how the characters are influenced by their personal traits, their relationships, and their circumstances. The book portrays the complexity and ambiguity of the characters, who are neither wholly good nor evil, but have shades of both. The book also reflects on the futility and tragedy of war, and the importance of compassion and harmony.

Style: The book adopts a simple and direct style of writing, using modern and accessible language. The book avoids using archaic or poetic expressions, and instead uses colloquial and conversational tones. The book also avoids using too many details or descriptions, and focuses on the main events and dialogues. The book uses a third-person omniscient point of view, which allows the narrator to comment on the thoughts and feelings of the characters, as well as the background and context of the story. The book also uses various literary devices, such as foreshadowing, irony, symbolism, metaphor, simile, and analogy, to enhance the meaning and impact of the story. The book also uses sound effects and music to create a dramatic and immersive experience for the listeners of the podcast.

Conclusion: The book is a remarkable adaptation of the Mahabharata, one of the most ancient and influential epics of the world. The book succeeds in bringing the epic to life, with its simple and engaging narration, its superb illustrations and cover. The book also offers a rich and insightful exploration of the themes and characters of the epic, and their relevance to the contemporary world. The book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the Mahabharata, or in the universal questions of human existence.

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