Marvelous book by Irawati Karve, India’s first woman anthropologist, peeling the layers of India’s epic story Mahabharata and giving us a ringside view of the frailties, imperfections, humanness of the various characters of the famous epic.
Yet it is not a criticism per se of the grand epic, but a discerning look at each of characters such as Bhishma, Gandhari, Kunti, Karna, Krishna and their role in the story tied with their motives for their actions. Bhishma for instance could have done much, but was beholden to his oath of not marrying and not taking up the throne. Kunti with her illegitimate child born before the Pandavas, Vidura born of a maid, Dhrithrashtra born a blind king and Pandu an impotent one. Arjuna refusing totally to kill Bhishma and Drona and Arjuna and Krishna ransacking an entire Khandava forest and decimating all living beings including animals.
Fascinating essays by the legendary Irawati Karve, gives the readers an insight never thought before whilst reading and re-reading the epics. Goodreads 5/5