Book Review- Arjun Without A Doubt- Shinde Sweety

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Title– Arjun- Without a Doubt
Author- Dr Shinde Sweety
ISBN– 978-93-81836-97-2
Publisher- Frog Books http://www.leadstartcorp.com
Genre– Mythology/ Epic/ History
Price– Rs 195
Pages– 306
Cover design– Champa Srinivas
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Blurb-

I knew there was nothing poetic about death.
I knew not that the most horrific battles are fought off the battlefield.

Arjun: The idealist in a non-ideal world; the warrior whose deadliest opponent was his conscience.

History forgot his voice, but misquoted his silence.

My self-esteem originates from me and ends in me.
Why does your honor depend on me? Find your own.

Draupadi: The untamed tigress, the fragrant flame, the unbridled spirit.

Power does not justify sin. Power is not virtue.
Virtue is that which lasts in spite of power.

Krishn : The enigma whose unique ideology churned the battlefield into a quest for Truth.

The Missile …The Trajectory … The Vision.

The trio that makes for the core of The Mahabharata.

This is their saga.
Insightful, visceral and candid .

Find ‘other’ famous Arjuns; compare Arjun vis-a-vis Achilles and Alexander; Explore Myths of Mahabharata.

All this and much more in ‘Arjun: Without A Doubt’.

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Review- 3.5 stars

This is an amazingly written book. When I started reading it, I was mildly surprised by the brilliant quality of writing. I have seen people write books once they have attained a career goal because they see it as something they always wanted to do. In this case however, it is utterly baffling how good Dr Sweety actually is. And this novel is not just something she needed to get done with, it is born out of love. The love of story-telling, the love of Mahabharata, the love of mythology AND history.

Not only does the language weaves perfect pictures in the novel, the writing and the thought behind it reflects a certain maturity of thought that is rare to find these days. The author has turned the ancient epic into a format easily comprehensible to a modern day reader while keeping it equally entertaining. The first person accounts of the protagonists – Arjun and Draupadi make them come across as real and human. Even the divinity of Krishn is not the focal point of this mytho-drama. He is portrayed just as a key- character in this story. The author takes her hand and reaches inside the guts of ‘Mahabharata- the epic’ and turns it inside out to make it- ‘Mahabharata- the story’. She has imbibed the values and philosophy behind it, has taken a stand instead of reading it passively and has presented her view boldly in this book.

I am usually against preachy books with lots of monologues but I am all praises for this one because it is not preachy. It is thoughtful writing with brilliant execution. The author doesn’t force her thoughts down your throat, she reasons with you, goads you into thinking on a higher plane and then just presents what appears plausible.

The Arjun and Draupadi monologues are separated by squiggly lines and are marked to avoid confusion. Personally, I think the publishers need to find a more graceful way to do that. The cover art is visually pleasing. I would have loved it if there were symbolic representations or changes in font to denote that the narrator is changing. I hope this gets taken care of in the subsequent editions. Particularly for myself, I didn’t feel any ambiguity while reading. It was a masterful work and I will cherish it in my personal library.

Now, with the above description, one shouldn’t assume that there is no room for improvement here. No book is perfect. This book might not appeal to those who are looking for accurate/ alternate historical accounts because it does take its liberties in describing mystical events just like its parent epic- Mahabharata. Nothing new or shocking here in terms of story line. It is just the perspective which is unique. Also, the language gets too poetic at times but then the book never claims to be hard-hitting real-life journalism from Kurukshetra battlefield. It just gets assumed in the mind of the reader as the accounts begin to get realistic. And then the assumption is shaken at certain points.

Nevertheless, it remains a book to be read and then re-read.

Take a bow, doc. (bow… Arjun… get it?) You nailed it!

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