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Another epic storytelling by Anand Neelakantan sir. In my last post, I had reviewed about Asura, which is the epic Ramayana retold from Ravana’s point of view. If you haven’t seen this post yet, then click here right away to take a look at it!

In this book, it is Mahabharata, told from Duryodhan’s point of view. Mahabharata is the greatest of all epics in India. If not the complete Mahabharata, each and every Indian have the knowledge about the Bhagavad Gita, which is a part of the Mahabharata epic.

Again, the general villain of this epic is Duryodhan and having the epic told from his point of view is truly mind-blowing. The whole storyline was amazingly narrated and it was so damn interesting that I simply couldn’t put the book down. When I was done with Ajaya, I couldn’t wait to read the sequel. In comes, Rise of Kali. Kali here does not mean Kali-the goddess. It is a short form of the term ‘Kaliyug’. It is believed at the end of Mahabharata war, Princess Uttara gives birth to a son who walks the world into a whole new yug called the Kaliyug. We are all actually in this very Kaliyug. BTW, each yug lasts for over a million human years!

The Storyline.

Coming to the storyline of the books, as I had mentioned, it is Duryodhan’s Mahabharatha. These books speak of his character, his habits, his Outlook towards general rules of the society, his idea of a better society and so on. At the period when the cast system (Varna system) was given most importance, Duryodhan believed that a human’s talents and abilities should determine the way he is perceived and not what kind of family he is born into. That’s the reason he even supports Karna who was the son of a mere charioteer but displayed the abilities of a seasoned warrior. Much to everyone’s surprise and disapproval, Duryodhan writes off a small part of the kingdom to Karna, making him a king from a charioteer’s son in an instant!

For this very kind of thought and behaviour, people started to despise Duryodhan. They did not like someone trampling all over their way of life, even if it was a prince. They started calling him spoilt and wreakless. And he too made a few wrong decisions and mistakes, afterall he is a mere human being. Soon enough, he was branded with the title of a villain that needs to be put down for the benefit of the society and mankind.

Excerpts from the books

“No self-respecting God would allow a good man to be happy for long. God has relevance only in the unhappiness of good people.” 

― Anand Neelakantan

“If Lord Duryodhana was an evil man, why did great men like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, the entire army of Krishna fight war on his side??” 

― Anand Neelakantan

“When our schools fail to teach our children what they should know, other schools take their place and teach different lessons, which we may not like. We are building our own funeral pyre.” 

― Anand Neelakantan

There are truly a lot more of such heart-breaking and thought-provoking excerpts all over the books. Both the books were absolutely marvelous that I truly feel proud that I got to read it. Much respect and reverence to Anand Neelakantan sir from me. And my dear cousin who actually introduced me to his books.

Lesson– Each and every person on this planet is actually different and unique. But as a society, we tend to strip them of their uniqueness and simply fit them into one of many socially accepted coffins.

Get your copy of these books

Ajaya- Roll of the Dice
Rise of Kali: Duryodhana’s Mahabharata