Book Review: Mahabharatee; Feministic take on the epic

When it comes to the saga of the Mahabharata, many books have been written pertaining to the epic. Therefore, it becomes difficult for an author to pique the interest of the readers about his work which deals with this most explored and over exploited subject.

Here,the author, Shruti Hajirnis Gupte, succeeds fully well as she has presented an altogether novel version of the Mahabharata in the form of her latest book Mahabharatee. The title of the work makes it evident  that this book has been conceived and created from the feminist standpoint. Doubtelsssly the world of mythogical writing has umpteen versions of the epic but most of them are male centric and expound on the historic tale from a purely patrachial point of view. Kudos to Shruti who demolishes the ossified  notion of masculinity and comes up with a narritive with female protagonists. Unlike the coventional heroes, the five Pandavas, Mahabharatee has five heroines Draupadi, Kunti, Mahamata Satyavati, Gandhari and Rukmani who dominate the canvas. These legendry women of indomitable courage and steely resolve assemble to ruminate, introspect and weigh the prose and cons of the impending battle of Kurukshetra.

There is a deep symbolism in the book and it appears to be quite a pungent invective on the male chauvinistic structure of our society. Unfortunately ours is a regressive society where the opinion of women is seldom sought petaining to the matters of import. Breaking the stereotype, these females are shown not docile but firecly articulate. The way Dhropdi brings forth her pro war stance seems really convincing.

Going against the advice of Satyavati, she wants that war is the only way to bring the culprits to book ( the men who had displayed the temerity to disrobe her in the royal court of Hastinapur). Tracing the relevance of the book in the modern day context, It would be pertinent to draw the analogy of the crimes being committed against women. The chorus  clamours in unison for the severest of the punishment as deterrent.

The language of the book merits special applause and the author’s ability to create formidable characters acts as the icing on the cake. In short, Mahabharatee is a must read.

- Book: Mahabharatee

- Author: Shruti Hajirnis Gupte

- Publisher: Pirates

- Pages: 201; Price: Rs 299

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal