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Duryodhana
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Duryodhana
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About the Book

The popular telling of the Mahabharata are about Duryodhana’s deviousness, obstinacy and greed for power that would bring about the battle of Kurukshetra between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, and his own downfall,

But was there more to him? Was he all black, or was it matter of shades of grey?

What was he?

True heir or pretender to the throne?

Arch villain or brave prince defending his rajadharma?

Ace strategist or wicked schemer?

History, they say, is written by the victors. So we have never heard the side that Duryodhana presents. The epic’s enigmatic villain fnally has say-on people, their motives and their machinations. For the first time we read a different meaning into episodes we may be familiar with-be it the attempted killing of Bhima, the burning of the wax house, the famous game of dice or even Draupadi’s vastraharan-and get insights into the story we may not come before. Here is the crown prince of Hastinapura as we have never known him, adding yet another dimension to the labyrinth that is the Mahabharata.

About the Author

Ragu is an academic, corporate executive author, columnist and a hobbyist. He taught finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, for nearly two decades before turning a banker as the president of ING Vysya Bank in Bengaluru. He is currently the CEO of GMR Varalakshmi Foundation. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Bocconi in Milan, ltaly, and Schulich School of Business, York University in Toronto, Canada,

Raghu has probably the largest collection of antique locks in the country, has played chess at all-India level, and was briefly a cartoonist for a national daily. He has been writing extensively for leading newspapers and magazines and currently blogs for the Time of India. His books include Locks, Mahabharata and Mahabharata; Ganesha on the Dashboard; Corruption Conundrum; Don’t Sprint the Marathon and Games Indians Play. Visit him online at www.vraghunathan.com

Prologue

The title of the chief villain of the Mahabharata belongs unequivocally to me.

Why? Could it be because that’s how Sage Vyasa, aka Krishna Dvaipayana-also ironically my biological grandfather-presented the chronicle to you? Or could it be that Vyasa wrote much of the epic ex post facto, and not as matters were unfolding, so that narration-and therefore the words of those who told and retold the stories after him- swayed way too much towards how the victors of the climactic war at Kurukshetra wanted it told? After all, it is humannature to find everything about the victors virtuously rosy and everything about the vanquished a vicious blak.

Victors always paint themselves as larger than life; they can do no wrong; their sweet; their breath is fragrant...why, they can walk on water! The vanquished are forever the whipping boys of posterity, as we Kauravas ought to know better than most. That is why our so-called cousins, the Pandavas, have forever been adorned with divine halos, and we the Kauravas with demons’ souls.

Before I proceed with my account of our story, let me make a comment-a sort of a disclaimer. The problem with our complex family history, which is as far flung in geography as in time. Is that we can often tell you nothing about any one episode in our lives without telling you about another episode at another time or place that caused the first episode, and then something else again that caused that second episode, and so on, so that touching on any single story from our lives ends up setting off a whole chain reaction, like so many dominoes. By the time you return to the story of your original interest, you may well have lost track of it. So every now and then, I may need to make excursions away from the main story, and the onus shall be upon you to keep track of the main line of my narration.

For example, if I am to convey to you why sage Vyasa could have had burr under the saddle about us Kauravas, I need to go back little and tell you a story. The story is that of my grandmother, Ambika, and her husband Vichitravirya-not my grandfather, though-who were childless when the husband died. If you are a tad confused about my grandmother’s husband not being my grandfather, that’s because there is yet another story explaining this one.

The two stories telescope back to the time of the Kuru king Shantanu of Hastinapura and Queen Satyavati, who were parents to two handsome sons- Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. When Shantanu passed away, his elder son Chitrangada succeeded him to the throne. Unfortunately,

he died a young man not yet married, fighting a powerful Gandharva chief, so that younger sibling, Vichitravirya, succeeded him. But the gods do play dice, and merciless are their throws. So the next of their manoeuvres ensured that the younger brother too died without progeny, leaving behind a young widow with no child and the Kuru clan with no successor to the throne, so that continuation of the Kuru race hung in balance.

After Vichitravirya’s death, in a bid to somehow fashion a successor for the clan, the desperate Queen Mother, Satyavati, asked her daughter-in law, that is my widowed grandmother Ambika-to marry her half-brother-in law, Bhishma.

I need to take another little diversion in my stories here.

Before marrying Satyavati, Shantanu was married to the gorgeous Ganga, from whom he had a son, brave Bhishma. One day, owing to Shantanu violating a prenuptial agreement, Ganga walked out with her son, to bring him up single-handedly. Bhishma grew up into a learned young man, well-versed in the Vedas, and highly skilled in the use of a variety of weapons, especially the bow and arrow. Ganga restored the youth to his pater Shantanu, and then left again, never to return. Shantanu, who had always missed his son, and the son, who had presumably always missed his father, grew unusually devote to each other. It goes without saying that brilliant Bhishma, being the only son, was poised to take the reins from his father when the time came.

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Duryodhana

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Item Code:
NAL573
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2014
ISBN:
9789351363309
Language:
English
Size:
8.0 inch x 5.0 inch
Pages:
311
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 260 gms
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About the Book

The popular telling of the Mahabharata are about Duryodhana’s deviousness, obstinacy and greed for power that would bring about the battle of Kurukshetra between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, and his own downfall,

But was there more to him? Was he all black, or was it matter of shades of grey?

What was he?

True heir or pretender to the throne?

Arch villain or brave prince defending his rajadharma?

Ace strategist or wicked schemer?

History, they say, is written by the victors. So we have never heard the side that Duryodhana presents. The epic’s enigmatic villain fnally has say-on people, their motives and their machinations. For the first time we read a different meaning into episodes we may be familiar with-be it the attempted killing of Bhima, the burning of the wax house, the famous game of dice or even Draupadi’s vastraharan-and get insights into the story we may not come before. Here is the crown prince of Hastinapura as we have never known him, adding yet another dimension to the labyrinth that is the Mahabharata.

About the Author

Ragu is an academic, corporate executive author, columnist and a hobbyist. He taught finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, for nearly two decades before turning a banker as the president of ING Vysya Bank in Bengaluru. He is currently the CEO of GMR Varalakshmi Foundation. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Bocconi in Milan, ltaly, and Schulich School of Business, York University in Toronto, Canada,

Raghu has probably the largest collection of antique locks in the country, has played chess at all-India level, and was briefly a cartoonist for a national daily. He has been writing extensively for leading newspapers and magazines and currently blogs for the Time of India. His books include Locks, Mahabharata and Mahabharata; Ganesha on the Dashboard; Corruption Conundrum; Don’t Sprint the Marathon and Games Indians Play. Visit him online at www.vraghunathan.com

Prologue

The title of the chief villain of the Mahabharata belongs unequivocally to me.

Why? Could it be because that’s how Sage Vyasa, aka Krishna Dvaipayana-also ironically my biological grandfather-presented the chronicle to you? Or could it be that Vyasa wrote much of the epic ex post facto, and not as matters were unfolding, so that narration-and therefore the words of those who told and retold the stories after him- swayed way too much towards how the victors of the climactic war at Kurukshetra wanted it told? After all, it is humannature to find everything about the victors virtuously rosy and everything about the vanquished a vicious blak.

Victors always paint themselves as larger than life; they can do no wrong; their sweet; their breath is fragrant...why, they can walk on water! The vanquished are forever the whipping boys of posterity, as we Kauravas ought to know better than most. That is why our so-called cousins, the Pandavas, have forever been adorned with divine halos, and we the Kauravas with demons’ souls.

Before I proceed with my account of our story, let me make a comment-a sort of a disclaimer. The problem with our complex family history, which is as far flung in geography as in time. Is that we can often tell you nothing about any one episode in our lives without telling you about another episode at another time or place that caused the first episode, and then something else again that caused that second episode, and so on, so that touching on any single story from our lives ends up setting off a whole chain reaction, like so many dominoes. By the time you return to the story of your original interest, you may well have lost track of it. So every now and then, I may need to make excursions away from the main story, and the onus shall be upon you to keep track of the main line of my narration.

For example, if I am to convey to you why sage Vyasa could have had burr under the saddle about us Kauravas, I need to go back little and tell you a story. The story is that of my grandmother, Ambika, and her husband Vichitravirya-not my grandfather, though-who were childless when the husband died. If you are a tad confused about my grandmother’s husband not being my grandfather, that’s because there is yet another story explaining this one.

The two stories telescope back to the time of the Kuru king Shantanu of Hastinapura and Queen Satyavati, who were parents to two handsome sons- Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. When Shantanu passed away, his elder son Chitrangada succeeded him to the throne. Unfortunately,

he died a young man not yet married, fighting a powerful Gandharva chief, so that younger sibling, Vichitravirya, succeeded him. But the gods do play dice, and merciless are their throws. So the next of their manoeuvres ensured that the younger brother too died without progeny, leaving behind a young widow with no child and the Kuru clan with no successor to the throne, so that continuation of the Kuru race hung in balance.

After Vichitravirya’s death, in a bid to somehow fashion a successor for the clan, the desperate Queen Mother, Satyavati, asked her daughter-in law, that is my widowed grandmother Ambika-to marry her half-brother-in law, Bhishma.

I need to take another little diversion in my stories here.

Before marrying Satyavati, Shantanu was married to the gorgeous Ganga, from whom he had a son, brave Bhishma. One day, owing to Shantanu violating a prenuptial agreement, Ganga walked out with her son, to bring him up single-handedly. Bhishma grew up into a learned young man, well-versed in the Vedas, and highly skilled in the use of a variety of weapons, especially the bow and arrow. Ganga restored the youth to his pater Shantanu, and then left again, never to return. Shantanu, who had always missed his son, and the son, who had presumably always missed his father, grew unusually devote to each other. It goes without saying that brilliant Bhishma, being the only son, was poised to take the reins from his father when the time came.

Sample Pages

















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