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THE MAHABHARATA ENDURES AS THE GREAT EPIC OF INDIA While Jaya is the story of the Pandavas told from the perspective of the victors of Kurukshetra Ajaya is the tale of the Kauravas who were decimated to the last man From the pen of the author who gave voice to Ravana in the national bestseller ASURA comes the riveting narrative which compels us to uestion the truth behind the Mahabharata THE DARK AGE OF KALI IS RISING and every man and woman must choose between duty and conscience honour and shame life and death o The Pandavas banished to the forest following the disastrous games of dice return to Hastinapura o Draupadi has vowed not to bind her hair till she washes it in the blood of the Kauravas. I have said it before and I will say it again It is always a refreshing experience to read Anand Neelakantan s books I have been waiting for this book for around 8 months now and the author has made this book worth the waitThe second instalment starts with Draupadi being summoned after the Pandavas have lost her in a game of dice Right from the first chapter the story continues its tandav throughout the book Do not misunderstand me when I say tandav I mean it as a compliment It is indeed havoc that is created through mere words on pages when Anand writes them He forces people to acknowledge that there are always two sides to a coin From the beginning of Roll of Dice the author ensured that we let go of all that we think we know about Mahabharata and start afresh to see the side of the story that no one tells the story of the KauravasWhile the stage was set and things started taking off in the first instalment Rise of Kali gives us an in depth look into all the characters that play a role Two people particularly stood out for me One of them was Karna while he did stand out in the original version with his diligence and loyalty here we get to see everything that he had gone through After reading his whole story his loyalty to Duryodhana and his resilience takes on a new level I admired Karna like no other in the story The other was that of Balarama While Krishna is widely known for his role in the Mahabharata Balarama felt humane and admirable in this version Also getting a look into Yuyutsu the only surviving Kaurava was an added attraction in the bookThe author maintains his comprehensive style of narration for most part I personally felt that there could be to the ending but then I am someone who is always looking for in a book The language continues to be striking complementing the author s uniue perspective on every character and relationship It was interesting engaging and entertaining

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Claim to the Hastinapura throne the Kaurava Crown Prince Suyodhana rises to challenge Krishna As great minds debate dharma and adharma power hungry men prepare for an apocalyptic war The women highborn and humble helplessly watch the unfolding disaster with deep foreboding And greedy merchants and unscrupulous priests lie in wait like vultures Both sides know that beyond the agony and carnage the winner will take all But even as gods conspire and men’s destinies unfold a far greater truth awaits One of the six most remarkable writers of India DNA An Amazing read The WEEK Uniue voice of a rebellious author telling the story from the other side a feat a few have dared or managed so well Bihar Time. Rise of Kali Duryodhana s Mahabharata is the second book in the Ajaya series Aptly titled Ajaya the series is Anand Neelakantan s counterpoint to the traditional rendition of the Mahabharata or Jaya which casts the Pandavas in a victorious as well as righteous lightIn Ajaya Neelakantan establishes the reasons why the Kauravas and Suyodhana Duryodhana in particular believe they are engaged in a righteous war and rightly points out some of the shortcomings of the Pandava claim on the throne and their activities in the war I think Indian readers were ripe for a reinterpretation of the Mahabharata from Duryodhana s perspective and Anand Neelakantan takes up the cause of the Kauravas and elaborates their thoughts in an impressive manner He describes in moving detail how Duryodhana and his ideologies are not evil like we ve always been told but how do you say disruptive to the social structure of the time Krishna who is the prime mover of the entire war is not as much in dismay of the wrongdoings of the Kauravas but rather worried about how Duryodhana s ideas of allowing his citizens to break the rules of the caste heirarchy might allow the descent of society into chaos As per the author s description Duryodhana is unaffected by the strict rules of caste and creed and believes only the the merit of the doer To him it s of no significance that Karna is a charioteer born of a caste not meant to draw weaponsHe sees that Karna is a proficient warrior his skills surpassing even Arjuna s and makes him the King of Anga giving him honorary status as a warrior Duryodhana is described as being sympathetic to the plight of the Nagas and other lower castes and he maintains that it is to prevent the further marginalisation of these oppressed castes that he wants to defeat the Pandavas so that he can establish a society where everyone may be treated fairly What I appreciated most about the book is that the author is ready to acknowledge the Kaurava s most blatant wrong in the epic the unrighteous stance they take during the Draupadi Cheerharan In the book Duryodhana Karna and Ashwatthama all acknowledge their failings when it comes to that lapse in reasonand dharma I have long felt that the Pandava claim on the throne is non existent or tenuous at best because Duryodhana IS the eldest son of the king of Hastinapura We have all traditionally settled for a righteous Pandava claim on the throne due to the wicked portrayal of Duryodhana But even historically it is known that Krishna and the Pandavas engineered several dubious circumstances during the war to get rid of Kaurava warriors of greater skill The author touches on this treachery especially in the case of the death of Karna Drona and Bhishma uite movingly Lastly Ajaya is a great portrayal of friendship loyalty and unswerving belief in one s own cause I really enjoyed Rise of Kali Read it for an alternative perspective on by far the most interesting Indian story we know because for all you know this is how it truly happened

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O Karna must choose between loyalty and gratitude friend and Guru o Aswathama undertakes a perilous mission to the mountains of Gandhara in search of the Evil One o Kunti must decide between her firstborn and her other sons o Guru Drona has to stand with either his favourite disciple or his beloved son o Balarama having failed to convince his brother about the adharma of violence walks the streets of Bharatavarsha spreading the message of peace o Ekalavya is called to make the ultimate sacrifice to uphold a woman’s honour o Jara the beggar sings of Krishna’s love while his blind dog Dharma follows o Shakuni can almost see the realization of his dream to destroy India As the Pandavas stake their. I have desperately waited for than a year to read the concluding part of Ajaya The author himself was extremely tight lipped about the release date and it has finally come almost a year after it was originally slated for release Considering all this anticipation there was no way the book actually would live up to what I wanted it to And it doesnt But it is still a really good honest effort The book succeeds best when it gives voice to Suyodhana and sometimes even to the people in his camp like Ashwathama and Shakuni Karna of course gets his time in the sun but the interesting part of this book is that the focus is not always so much on Karna and considering the number of books which have already valorized Karna it is good to let some other voices speakWhat the book really does well is paint a believable picture of the right on Suyodhana s side And unlike the earlier book it does it while also giving a passionate Suyodhana Suyodhana aruging with Krishna about the right of his cause is one of the best scenes in the book Bhishma s speech when he announces he is going to support Suyodhana is again great and genuinely highlights the hero s passion and conviction At times it feels as if the author has closely followed the Star Bharat series which was aired last year and is deliberately trying to invert the story This is not really a flaw in this book because the series was so one sided that the story needed to be told from the other perspective For instance in popular discourse even in Karna centered narratives when Karna gets to know the truth about his birth he urges Krishna to keep it secret because he feels that should they know the truth Yudhishtra will give up his claim on the kingdom which he rightfully deserves It is actually a bit ludicrous to see a hot headed angry man like Karna suddenly turn affectionate towards the Pandavas because he realizes they are his brothers and wants to support their claim Here Karna fully supports Suyodhana s claim to the throne He also realizes that Kunti and Krishna suddenly acknowledging him is a political ploy to somehow ensure Pandava advantage over Suyodhana And he wants none of it This seems far psychologically possible keeping in mind Karna s personality Karna s rejection of Kunti and his almost reluctant adherence to a promise not to kill the Pandavas allows us to be sympathetic to him even though in the larger context of Suyodhana s life Karna has betrayed him Karna s death scene in the arms of Suyodhana even as he thinks that it is better to die this way as Radheya than win against Arjuna and become another Kaunteya a puppet in Krishna s arms allows us to feel sympathetic for both men And particularly after seeing the travesty of Karna s death scene in Star Mahabharat this description is particularly satisfying At times the book seems to give excessive importance to Shakuni and pushes his role even in episodes where he was probably not involved But the book succeeds in still presenting Shakuni as a human person who loves his country and resents India for what was done to his own country Placing Shakuni and Krishna as antagonists seems to have again drawn from the Star version of Mahabharat But it is nicely done with Krishna himself at times becoming a pawn in Shakuni s plans When the book does invoke any of the Pandava perspectives it falls a bit flat Yudhishtra genuinely preferring not to be a king Bhima wondering why his tribal wife and son are not important in the scheme of things Arjuna uestioning the Gita s wisdom after he has killed Bhishma and Karna maybe each of it deserves a book in itself Doubtless Neelakantan has borrowed some ideas from existing narratives which is perfectly fine but given the seriousness of the issues being raised they are treated very very briefly In fact the last chapters are very rushed with about 36 years of narrative being compressed almost to read as though the Pandavas renounced their kingdom a few months after the victory Krishna s development in this book is uite interesting In the previous book he was developing as the villain but perhaps Neelakantan chose to steer clear of controversy by making Krishna a heartless villain Or maybe he genuinely wanted to give the character depth The Krishna of this book is likeable if a bit inconsistent His almost inhuman detachment from the world as he preaches a system of social order makes him almost an avtar Yet his anguish over his wayword son and his pathetic attempts to protect him make him all too human Unfortunately since Krishna does not bear the burden of villainy in this book Neelakantan had to find alternate villains and Dhaumya emerging as a villain supreme seems a bit ludicrous considering he has very little role in any of the mainstream versions of Mahabharata Yuyutsu s antagonistic role is a bit well done And positioning Yuyutsu s ascendancy as Dhirtharashtra s ultimate revenge against the Pandavas is a delicious twist of irony All in all this is definitely a honest and good book It definitely scores over the other recent mythological release The Scion of Ikshvaku It is unfortunate that Neelakantan lacks Tripathi s savviness in marketing because that book which reads like absolute trash is definitely going to trump this in book sales

10 thoughts on “AJAYA RISE OF KALI Book 2

  1. says:

    Video Review Link job by Anand Neelakantan Ajaya Roll of The Dice Part 1 Rise of Kali Part 2 is an epic written by Anand Neelakantan which shows Mahabharata from Duryodhana's point of view I was unjust and hasty when I have written review of part 1 but I will correct my review as I have completed both the parts I will re write review for complete series AjayaFrom our childhood either we heard or watched On Doordarshan stories the Mahabhar

  2. says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again It is always a refreshing experience to read Anand Neelakantan’s books I have been waiting for this book for around 8 months now and the author has made this book wo

  3. says:

    I have always believed in the policy – if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at allSo when I did not uite like Amish’s Scion of IkshvakuI decided not to put down my reaction in words But Rise of Kali has actually disappointed me to a level that I am going to write a detailed review of

  4. says:

    Anand Neelakantan's book starts with what seems like an apology for exploring the alternate POV It talks about Hinduism openness to ideas debates and discussions and uotes Bhagavad Gita of all things to let us know the position of the author Iti te jnananam akhyatamguhyad guhyatram mayavimrisyaitad aseshenayathe

  5. says:

    I have desperately waited for than a year to read the concluding part of Ajaya The author himself was extremely tight lipped about the release date and it has finally come almost a year after it was originally slated for release Considering all this anticipation there was no way the book actually would live up to what I wanted it to And it doesnt But it is still a really good honest effort The book succeeds be

  6. says:

    The Rise of Kali raises the uestion why the history never considered the virtues of the vanuished? Suryodhana was the voice of a castles society which weighed the individual with merits He accepted Karna the son of a charioteer and offered him his eternal friendship He did not ask Yudhishtira to pawn his wife on the dice games He didn't do anything against Dharma in the war Still he is the chief antagonistRise of Kali is the search through

  7. says:

    'Rise of Kali Duryodhana's Mahabharata' is the second book in the Ajaya series Aptly titled 'Ajaya' the series is Anand Neelakantan's counterpoint to the traditional rendition of the Mahabharata or Jaya which ca

  8. says:

    I received a signed copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads The views expressed here are my own and unbiased3 starsThe blurb sounded so promisingThe author has turned such a great epic into a horrid Retellin

  9. says:

    This book begins from the most infamous and the most poignant chapter of Mahabharata The dice game in which Pandavas' lose their entire wealth kingdom and eventually they end up losing their wife by gambling over a dice game orchestrated by Shakuni who was playing on behalf of the Kauravas If this situation woul

  10. says:

    i had already read ajaya I and was waiting for part II for a long time it does not fail to disappoint the book is gripping unputdownable read only thing is that the story appears to travel very fast the author could have opted for two volumes on the whole i am very impressed with anand neelakantan's reinterpretation of the ithihasa my knowledge of the mahabharata is uite good and i can say that anand's version is not only plausible but also