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Friday, January 21, 2011


Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik is a retelling of Mahabharata in a text book-ish format. So much so I almost expected to find a set of questions and fill in the blanks sort of stuff following each chapter.

The book has madhubani style illustrations which are extremely well done.

The book begins with the description of the snake sacrifice conducted by Janamejaya- the descendent of the Pandavas. The snake then tells the story of the Mahabharata and brings out the difference between Jaya & Vijaya and I quote

"Jaya means pure victory— one where there are no losers while Vijaya means victory where someone is defeated. A victory without losers is a victory over one's own self."

The story progresses in the format of a narration by the snake to Janamejaya and each chapter begins with a dialogue addressed to him that represents the essence of the chapter.

Each chapter carries footnotes about alternate and regional versions and interpretations of the episodes which makes it even more interesting.

Extremely lucid style of writing.

The book is a keeper. I find it to be one of the best and complete narrations of Mahabharat that I have read so far.

pic courtsey-


Devasena Hariharan said...

well written. it makes anyone to grab the book.

First i need to read those Ashok Banter series that u have written so many reviews abt. Planning to buy one by one slowly and reading it.

You have a real taste for these kind of books, slowly imbibing u

Mirza Ghalib said...

Makes you interested in the great Indian novel all over again and sit up and take cognizance of some facts which might have been circumvented due to various reasons. The author's illustrations also add a dramatic touch teh book. Read teh book in frenzy to know more about an epic which does teach a lot. Doing the second read with my husband now. It is still asgripping the second time over...