Monday, 21 September 2015

Karna: The Unsung Hero of the Mahabharata by Umesh Kotru, Ashutosh Zutshi

Then, the exquisitely handsome body of Karna of generous acts, who should have been worthy of perpetual happiness, let go of that refulgent head with the kind of extreme reluctance evinced by a wealthy person in leaving his own prosperous home, or by a saintly one in forsaking virtuous company. [The Mahabharata, Karna-Parva; 91.53-54] In these lines of evocative pathos, the Mahabharata pays its ultimate tribute to Karna, who has hardly a rival in world literature to match his credentials as a uniquely nuanced heroes' hero – towering above Hector in righteous valour, above Arjuna in generosity, and above all else in conscientious attachment to the principles of noblesse oblige. This is the intriguing story of a hero who, despite being born to royalty was, like the Biblical Moses, cast away by his mother. Brought up lovingly by a lowly charioteer and his wife, his whole life was one great struggle against cruel destiny, and against all the odds placed in his way by the inequities of his time. In the process, he blazed a new trail of glory, emerging as the adorable exemplar of purushakaara (manly effort), with tremendous achievements both as a man and also as a warrior. Yet society never gave him his due, despite being as upright as Yudhishthira, as strong as Bhima, as skilful as Arjuna, as handsome as Nakula and as intelligent as Sahadeva. Rebuffed and insulted by society at every step, he developed some flaws engendered by a defiant spirit and nurtured by association with the evil designs of Duryodhana, his benefactor prince. But those very contrarieties seem to enhance and enliven the dramatic appeal of his character as one of the brightest stars of the Mahabharata's star cast. Written in an engagingly flowing style and with an imaginative transcreation of the epic storyline, Karna: the Unsung Hero of the Mahabharata should strike a responsive chord in the minds, specifically of today's Mahabharata aficionados and generally of all lovers of exalted human drama. 

Category :- Fantasy > Mythology

I got this book from the author in exchange for honest review.
The book is fictionalised version of the  lives and deeds of the various Mahabharata  characters.
Karna is the real hero of  Mahabharata sice our childhood.

The story of Karna begins with the misfortune of his secret birth and unfolds itself amidst the unremitting gloom of injustice and insult.At every stage of his life he had to do immense hardships  and never did he deter from the path of righteousness.
All of us have grown up reading, watching or listening to the stories from the greatest of Indian Epic the Mahabharata, from our elders particularly our mothers. How could anybody escape being fascinated by the seemingly never ending saga of intricately woven tales that never fail to entice us as well fire our imagination, our curiosity, generating numerous questions about all the fascinating characters and maze of intertwined stories.

A must read. I would give this book full 5 out of 5 stars.
Overall I  found the book very interesting to read. Looking forward to read more from the author.
Quotes from the book:-

“Kunti asked Yudhishthira to perform the rituals for Karna as well. When Yudhishthira expressed his surprise, she confessed to the real lineage of Karna. Everyone was shocked at this startling revelation. Yudhishthira could not believe that he had been instrumental in murdering his own brother for the throne of Hastinapura. He fell into a deep swoon and after coming out of it he refused to be the King of Hastinapura and prepared to leave for the forest. It required lot of effort for days together on the part of Maharishi Vyasa, Narada and Shri Krishna to finally persuade him to desist from doing so. But in sheer agony, Yudhishthira cursed all women that thenceforth they would not be able to keep any secret for long.” 

Umesh Chandra Kotru, a specialist in accounts and finance of the Government of India, retired in 2010 from the Ministry of Power, after a distinguished career spanning years of professional work in the Ministry of External Affairs; Indian Embassy in Washington; Ministry of Finance; and Ministry of Environment & Forests. An avid reader of books on Philosophy, Religion, Mythology and Fiction, and a passionate aficionado of Sports, Umesh now divides his time between his two pursuits of the mind and the body. Living in Noida with wife, also retired from Central Government Service, they have a daughter who is a doctor and a son who is an engineer with MBA, both married. Email: Ashutosh Zutshi, like-minded nephew of Umesh Kotru, is a technocrat with a difference. An electronics & communication engineer, Ashutosh is engaged in higher-level corporate management as General Manager of a Japanese MNC in Delhi. At the same time, an inner urge for self-actualisation drives him to find some time mostly in the weekends to pursue his other interests, in music, in singing and of course, in serious reading. Ashutosh too lives in Noida with his wife, who works with the United Nations and two sons who are in school. Email:

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