Review : Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli

April 11, 2013
Author: Anuja Chandramouli
Publisher: Platinum Press
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9789381576397
Rating: ★★★☆☆
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This 360-page dedication to Veda Vyasa, truly the finest storyteller ever, is solely a retelling of the tale of Arjuna, the valiant warrior of Hindu mythology, and his role in Mahabharata. Mahabharata is by itself a tale with a magical mix of emotions which renders any reader mesmerized. However, the uniqueness of this book lies in fact that the author retold this tale in a simple, quick and fascinating manner.

Though prior knowledge of Mahabharata partially ruined the reading experience for me, anyone who doesn’t know much about Mahabharata and Arjuna would surely find this very captivating. In the last eight chapters, many times I found myself unfathomably immersed in the proceedings of the book. So much, that when Abhimanyu and Karna died, I literally cried. And slowly, as I came down the emotional cliff, I stood there wondering whether it was the author’s writing or charm of the epic that made me cry. Though I believe it was the latter, fluid and strong-woven writing in this book cannot be denied of its deserved credit.

In the midst of these heartfelt highs and fervent falls, some dialogues of Bheema sounded too funny and childish for a warrior of such might. While some places displayed snapped chronology, some dialogues brought over a feeling that Pandavas were a group of high school show-offs ranting for being wrongfully punished by their teachers.

As the book takes-off, the reader must initially endure a seat-belt of boredom. Slowly it picks up pace with its wheels of verbal resourcefulness and eventually flies with its wings of enticing narration. As it soared though the last few chapters, I got completely carried away. Fully fascinated, I could make no further attempts to judge the book.

And when my flight to the last page landed, the aftertaste was a profound awe for Karna, the first born of Kunti. Dwelling in the cosmic greatness of generous Karna, I closed the book and faced the cover page. I don’t know why, but I was disappointed to see Arjuna’s name on it.

A pleasant read that sufficiently satiates the hunger for Hindu mythology (Mahabharata).


Lakshmikanth Koundinya

Lakshmikanth Koundinya

Writer at IndiaBookStore
Of Poe's heart, Russell's brain, Wilde's thought and Rand's strength - a hedonic wanderer and enchantress' apprentice in the world of Literature
Lakshmikanth Koundinya

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  • Shree March 15, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    I don’t understand Why the people now-a-days are more devoted for Karna over Arjuna.
    NO doubt, Karna in his own way was a great soul. But the fact prevails that Arjuna was a much greater soul who, for his greatness, was termed as “Purushalva” meaning ‘Best Of Men’ by none other Lord Shiva and “Nishpap” meaning sinless by Lord Krishna..These titles were not bestowed on anyone other than Arjuna. So please understand Arjuna is the most central characters of Hindu Mythology that plays a unique role on the war-field as well as in his life journey. There’s absolutely should be no reason for someone to be disappointed to see The Ever Great Arjuna’s name over it. Thanks.!

    • Lakshmikanth Koundinya March 16, 2014 at 3:48 AM

      I too don’t know why I was dissapointed. I too like Arjuna’s character in the epic. Probably because inside me I sympathize so much with Karna. He suffered a lot for no fault of his. Injustice, I feel. Fate puched him in the face a thousand times but there he stood, erect and smiling in rebellious acceptance. He took heavy misfortune as his crown but never bowed his head. He knows the true taste of pain. This is my opinion. Anyway, this is Mahabharat and I am a mere reader.

    • Mugdha March 18, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      You know, Shree, I’ve been feeling the same way. (Disclaimer: This is a general comment and not anything to do with the book review above, as I haven’t read this book.) I notice that a lot of people in our generation tend to feel sympathetic towards Karna. He fits into the role of the antihero. There’s a general impression that he was ‘cheated’ out of the claims that should have been his birthright. But I read Iravati Karve’s essay on Karna in her book Yuganta, and it presented a more critical view of Karna. Take a look.

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