Posted in Think Tank

Yudhisthira – The Unfallen Pandava

A new mythological fiction title is doing the rounds in the market, Yudhisthira – The Unfallen Pandava by Mallar Chatterjee , published by Readomania and it is making people sit up and notice. Why? The subject or let’s say the protagonist is unusual and the perspectives are also something we didn’t actually pay attention to in a detailed manner.

How does this book cover look like?

So what’s this book about?

Let me present a blurb to pique your interest….

Though the Kuru family survived on Vyasadeva’s seeds, he never belonged to the house. Moreover, being an ascetic, he was even exempted from obligations of the complicated dynamics of human relationships. This armed him with a ruthless dispassion and he could go on telling his stories with stoical detachment, free from any bias and uncontaminated by quintessential human dilemmas.

 

But had any of his characters given his own account of the story, would not that have lent a different dimension to the events seducing ordinary mortals like us to identify, if not compare, our private crises with those of our much celebrated heroes?

The Unfallen Pandava is an imaginary autobiography of Yudhisthira, attempting to follow the well-known story of the Mahabharata through his eyes. In the process of narrating the story, he examines his extremely complicated marriage and relationship with brothers turned co-husbands, tries to understand the mysterious personality of his mother in a slightly mother-fixated way, conducts manic and depressive evaluation of his own self and reveals his secret darkness and philosophical confusions with an innate urge to submit to a supreme soul. His own story lacks the material of an epic, rather it becomes like confession of a partisan who, prevailing over other more swashbuckling characters, finally discovers his latent greatness and establishes himself as the symbolic protagonist.

 

Interested??

Ok! Here comes an extract to get you into the whirlpool of reading this book.

After Pandu’s death, the only person who could have doused any curiosity about my mysterious birth was Mother Kunti herself. But I never dared ask her. Meanwhile, when I heard that gods like Vayu, Indra and Ashwini brothers fathered Bheema, Arjuna and Nakula-Sahadeva respectively; the mystery only deepened. It was an evidence of my

adulthood that I felt embarrassed rather than proud of the fact that my mother could entice gods at will to bear their sons!

 

It is difficult for anybody to analyse the woman his own mother has been. Kunti’s profile was such that the possibility of extramarital union seemed awkwardly juxtaposed on her virtuous persona—if not a slander on her image. She fit into every role with silken grace. She was an elegant queen-consort, a devoted wife, a more than perfect mother and an inspiring mother-in-law.

 

But Kunti had a demure, yet addictive sensuality that men could find irresistible. Her extraordinary femininity came as a boon in a sad Pandu’s life. When I was about twelve years old, I once became privy to a very private conversation between them. I heard Pandu say, in a voice unsteady with emotion, ‘You have saved my lineage from certain extinction, Pritha. I don’t know how to thank you. Please do forgive me, if you ever can.’

I could not hear Kunti’s reply as it was lost in the noise of sudden torrents of rain—nature too seemed to have erupted in a catharsis perfectly capturing the mood of the couple.

 

Why did Pandu have to ask Kunti for forgiveness? Was it because of his second marriage to Madri? But multiple marriages were very much common in the Kshatriya society at that time. Now I suspect that Pandu actually wanted to be forgiven for his futile

manhood. He did not need to be forgiven for his bigamy, but he felt guilty for sending his wife to different men (sorry, gods!) just to carry forward his line of descendence. My mother must not have enjoyed this.

 

Kunti felt her so-called chastity—both physical and mental—had been lost. Moreover, her marriage with Pandu was based on suppression of the crucial fact of Karna’s birth before their marriage. Worse, she lost her firstborn forever. Kunti fell in her own eyes. The pious lady might have felt violated, and badly needed to redeem herself. Probably that’s why, she chose Lord Dharma ahead of any other gods in order to get me, her first

‘official’ son.

 

Thank you Mother, for getting me such a noble father!

 

A strange thought would occur to me much later. Did Kunti consciously want Draupadi to be married off to all of us? Did she want to establish a polyandrous custom within our family which she herself had unwittingly, or perhaps reluctantly, started? Perhaps Kunti wanted to get rid of a perennial discomfiture of remaining the solitary woman in our family with that dubious distinction and tried to extend the culture to the next generation

too by using a clever, little deception.

 

‘Divide it equally among all of you!’

 

We might have been too naive to suspect her real intention and accepted it as an act of mere carelessness. Kunti was never known for saying something without weighing it properly. Today I doubt that perhaps Kunti managed to see Draupadi standing outside through the door kept slightly ajar. Her ignorance might well have been a ruse. She probably feigned it to get done what she had wanted.

 

Unnoticed, Kunti controlled the course of the future of the Kuru house, more inadvertently than deliberately. It was my docile mother who inconspicuously held the key, perpetually lurking behind a haze of mystery. She was not at all happy about it—I knew that. She sadly got ensnarled. My poor mother! She never aspired to be special, but destiny had other plans. The realisation helped me develop a more intense fondness for

Mother.

 

It helped me in a different way also. I discovered something that almost no men of my time ever bothered to care about: a woman’s quintessential identity rests in her private feminineness, not in any of the roles she plays to perfection all her life.

 

Interesting…. isn’t it? Now its time to get to know the author, Mallar Chatterjee

Born in a suburban town in North 24 Parganas in West Bengal, in a family of academicians, Mallar Chatterjee’s childhood flame was mythology, especially the Mahabharat. The Unfallen Pandava is his debut novel. Mallar is a central government employee, presently posted in Delhi.

Here’s the link to buy it!

Yudhisthira – The Unfallen Pandava is available online at Amazon.

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