I had the opportunity to review Seeds of War– the Part 2 of Ashok K Banker’s Mahabharata series and, in the write-up, I had mentioned that it was, but futile to review books which have stood the test of time, from a critical perspective.
Why? Because, when things feel Beautiful and Wonderful the way they are, and have been thought so by generations of wise people, there is no point in disrupting the beauty by finding flaws, is there?
So, shall stand by that view in this review too, for most parts.
The books which I’m about to review have been picked out of this Volume 2 of the Mahabharata series and I shall go into a certain detail about the story while reviewing, which I had skipped in the earlier review.
Book 3- Satyavati and Shantanu- A love story made possible by a son’s sacrifice
Satyavati is the beautiful daughter of the chief of the fisherman community; Shantanu is the powerful king of the Puru dynasty who lost his love in Ganga due to the breaking of a promise. He has a son by name Devavrata, who is purported to be the next King.Shantanu and Satyavati meet at the riverside (romantic spot- check), take a ride on the boat which is rowed by Satyavati (Scope for romance- check) and talk in what could be termed as “flirtation” in the modern lingo.
Love is in the air and things seem to go well for them, until Shantanu meets the fisher chief with his proposal to marry his daughter. The Chief agrees to get his daughter married, but, lays down a condition which shatters Shantanu.
Will their love reach its fruition?That’s what the rest of the story is all about…
Book 4- Amba and Bhishma- A love story that was never meant to be
Devavrata, the son of Shantanu, takes a terrible vow of celibacy throughout his life to restore his father’s happiness, in a spate of circumstances.However, the Puru dynasty faces a dire situation when the stronger of the heirs, Chitrangada dies in a battle and the weaker one, Vichitravirya is forced to lead the kingdom.
Bhishma, as Devavrata had come to be known by then, decides to acquire the daughters-in-law for the kingdom on Vichitravirya’s behalf, knowing fully well that the latter was incapable of accomplishing the feats required to win a queen for himself in a Swayamvara (a.k.a marriage) process.
He abducts the daughters of King Kashya, the eldest of whom is Amba and what follows is the blossoming of love in Amba’s heart.
Will it end in happiness?
That’s the story for you….
Now, these stories are interesting, no doubt, but, they feel a little abrupt when read as separate entities. When the Book “Seeds of war” deals with the same stories, in continuity, what was the need for separate ones?
Given the fact that these books are exclusively reserved for the separate incidents, I would have loved to read them in the entirety with a beginning and an end which leaves no scope for doubts in the readers’ mind. I would have loved a page describing what happened next or how it ended, taking the story to its completion. The stories feel incomplete, which wasn’t the case while reading the same ones in “Seeds of war”.
Given an option to choose between the two: Epic Love stories and the MBA series, I would definitely vote for the latter…
As a reader investing “Rs125” on one love story, you expect something more from it than a mere reproduction of some pages from a different book by the same author.
There is nothing new in these books.
Would have been great if there had been more incidents between the protagonists, but, these books disappoint from that front. In my opinion, there was no need to bring out the same stories without any additions, as smaller editions, except probably for the fact that the smaller editions would be better for children aged below 12(?) to read…
While the stories may be good enough to reproduce in any form, and the author, good enough to do justice to these stories, the presentation comes as a disappointment.
Maybe my expectations were high….
Wanna read it? Go ahead…Buy “Seeds of War” by Ashok K banker if you are above 12 years of age.