Kurukshetra by Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’

Kurukshetra book coverKurukshetra is a poetic description of the analysis and after effects of a war. The poet has taken the Bhishma – Yudhishthir dialogue after the Mahabharat war was over in order to explain the effects of war.

After the war was over, Yudhishthir repents on the unjust caused by war. Yudhistir says that everybody understands the effects of war. The end result of every war is only destruction, but is it just to have enormous casualties for the selfish purpose of few.

“युद्ध को पहचानते सब लोग हैं,
जानते हैं, युद्ध का परिणाम अन्तिम ध्वंस है!
सत्य ही तो, कोटि का वध पाँच के सुख के लिए!”

Bhishm replies that nobody wants to get sick, but when the infection has already spread then their is no alternative other than treating it from root. He then explains that by itself no action is just or unjust. It is the internal feeling which makes it so.

“रुग्ण होना चाहता कोई नहीं,
रोग लेकिन आ गया जब पास हो,
तिक्त ओषधि के सिवा उपचार क्या?
शमित होगा वह नहीं मिष्टान्न से।

है मृषा तेरे हृदय की जल्पना,
युद्ध करना पुण्य या दुष्पाप है;
क्योंकि कोई कर्म है ऐसा नहीं,
जो स्वयं ही पुण्य हो या पाप हो।

Bhishm further explains that Lord Krishna explained it very well that the feelings of the actor are more important than the action itself. And it is important for one to separate oneself from the “Karma” and still continue doing that. He explains to Yudhishthir that although the prime duty of a human being is mercy and compassion. but  when the interest of the larger society is concerned we have to forget that prime duty. He then says that pardoning only suits the powerful people.

सत्य ही भगवान ने उस दिन कहा,
‘मुख्य है कर्त्ता-हृदय की भावना,
मुख्य है यह भाव, जीवन-युद्ध में
भिन्न हम कितना रहे निज कर्म से।'”

“व्यक्ति का है धर्म तप, करुणा, क्षमा,
व्यक्ति की शोभा विनय भी, त्याग भी,
किन्तु, उठता प्रश्न जब समुदाय का,
भूलना पड़ता हमें तप-त्याग को।

जो अखिल कल्याणमय है व्यक्ति तेरे प्राण में,
कौरवों के नाश पर है रो रहा केवल वही।
किन्तु, उसके पास ही समुदायगत जो भाव हैं,
पूछ उनसे, क्या महाभारत नहीं अनिवार्य था?”

“क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को,
जिसके पास गरल हो।
उसको क्या, जो दन्तहीन,
विषरहित, विनीत, सरल हो ?

Finally he explained the episode from Ramayan as mentioned below –

तीन दिवस तक पन्थ माँगते
रघुपति सिन्धु-किनारे,
बैठे पढते रहे छन्द
अनुनय के प्यारे-प्यारे।

उत्तर में जब एक नाद भी
उठा नहीं सागर से,
उठी अधीर धधक पौरुष की
आग राम के शर से।

सिन्धु देह धर ‘त्राहि-त्राहि’
करता आ गिरा शरण में,
चरण पूज, दासता ग्रहण की,
बँधा मूढ बन्धन में।”

About the Author

Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ was an Indian Hindi poet, essayist, patriot and academic. He is famous for his nationalist poetry written in the days before Indian independence. He was born on 23rd September 1908 and passed away on 24th April 1974)

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Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi

Scion of Ikshvaku Book coverAnother historical book by Amish Tripathi. This time he has chosen the story of Ramayan (around 3400 BCE). Its re-telling of the standard Ram-Sita life-story as mentioned in various versions of Ramayan’s by various authors over a period of time. Mostly it seems it has been taken from Valmiki Ramayan as I could not find a trace of Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas in it.

The way characters are presented in this book, seems more practical to me and there is no God / Goddess like behaviour being exhibited by Ram and Sita. Their character is purely human, albeit with more mature and practical thoughts. Once again Amish has used the concept of “Nagas” (people born with deformities) to explain Hanuman, Kumbhakaran and Jatayu, which sounds more practical, rather than animals able to talk like humans. This characters of this book must not be treated like religious characters rather it will be best to imagine they just have the same names as of the Ramayan characters and then people will be able to accept this book as interesting thriller.

Even though we all know the story, yet every page turn was worth it and the presentation wanted me to finish and see what’s in store next.

Strong Dislikes

Having a rape case sounding similar to the Delhi Rape case and then pages and pages of lectures by Ram on the Law and how an underage can not be punished because there is no provision for death penalty in law for underage criminals is something which seriously could have been avoided. Were you trying to throw your ideas about the whole “Nirbhaya” issue Amish, if so, I disagree with your thoughts.


Overall, I will be waiting for the next book in the series.

About the Author

Amish Tripathi is an IIM graduate banker turned full time author. He is passionate about history, mythology and philosophy. “Siva Trilogy” was his first series which got immensely popular.

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Chandrakanta by Devakinandan Khatri

Chandrakanta Book CoverChandrakanta is a hindi novel written in 1888. This is fantasy fiction something similar to the “Harry Potter” series, which the younger generation of today is so fan of. It is important to note that during the time when this book was written, Urdu was the language in use in the country and Farsi being the official language of Mughal courts. Therefore, this work is considered to be the first work of prose in the modern Hindi language. There were people from different generations who learn hindi script (devanagari) in order to just read this series of books. This story has a big hand in making Hindi popular among masses.

Chandrakanta is a simple love story between a prince Virendra Singh of Naugarh and princess Chandrakanta of Vijaygarh. The lust of Krur Singh, who was a member in the court of Vijaygarh is the main reason of twists and turns in this story and brings in the concept of Aiyyar and Tilasm. An aiyyar is usually employed by royal houses. They are expert spies and are well versed in the act of disguise, medicines and fighting. As usual with many love stories, this story too ends with both the lovers meeting together and getting married.

Overall the story line is quite captive inspite of being a very simple plot. There is no break in the story and the interest of the reader remains till the end, where a lot of secrets are disclosed.

The book is in Devanagari script (Hindi script), but uses a lot of Urdu words, as Urdu was very popular language at those times.

Followed by Chandrakanta, the author also wrote a series – “Chandrakanta Santati”, meaning “The Sons of Chandrakanta”. I am looking forward to reading that series too.

About the Author

Babu Devakinandan Khatri was born in 1861 in Samastipur in Bihar (India). He was an employee of the “Raja of Banaras” and also established a printing press called “Lahari Press”, which interestingly is still in existence near the city of Varanasi. The author has written several Hindi fiction / fantasy novels and has quite a big hand in making Hindi a popular language. Interestingly he never wrote any of his works at one go. He used to write individual chapters, called “Bayans” – an urdu word meaning “Statement” and publish them. People used to wait for those individual chapters in order to know what happened next in the story. Devakinandan Khatri passed away in 1913.

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The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler

The Mediterranean Caper Book Cover

A world war I vintage Albatross fighter attacked an US airfield in a remote island in Greece. Dirk Pitt who was flying near that area and was en-route to assists the NUMA research ship facing sabotage, received the distress call from the control tower. After successfully managing to chase the attacker away and some initial investigation regarding the sabotage on the NUMA ship, he realised that the two cases are linked together somehow. In the process, he found the connection linking the two events together and with some help from interpol managed to crack down a smuggling racket linked with World War II war criminals.

As with the previous book, the best thing I liked about this book is the lack of modern gadgetry and pure instinctive and detective skills in the main character. There was no super hero like bravery, but yet the character was a hero in a more practical sense. The language of the book is very simple and there is no unnecessary complications in the plot. The story moves very smoothly and does not have any gaps. This is an action plot, but yet there is no unnecessary gunfights or unarmed combats in the plot. It more or less fits into the category of “adventure”. One of the disappointing part of the whole plot was treating the female characters as merely sex objects. This reminds be of James Bond plots where the heroin in the whole plot have not much of a role to play and inspite of being very good at what they are, they all were seduced by James Bond and they kind of liked that. But again, this novel was written more than 40 years back and perhaps that could be the general mindset at that point of time. Thankfully, this dis-pleasing part was somewhere in the beginning and in the last couple of pages when Dirk Pitt “borrowed” one of the female interpol agents.

About Clive Cussler

Clive Cussler is a fiction writer and founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, (NUMA). NUMA is a non-profit organisation that dedicates itself to preserving American maritime and naval history.

Clive Cussler begin writing in 1965 and published his first fiction novel in 1973, featuring Dirk Pitt as the main character. So far 23 books have been published in the Dirk Pitt Series. In addition to the Dirk Pitt series, Cussler has written NUMA Files (13 books) series, The Oregon Files (10 books) series, Isaac Bell (8 books) series, Fargo Adventure (7 books) series with other authors.

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Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer

Best Kept Secret Book CoverThis is the third book in The Clifton Chronicles series. The story continues from where it left off. I am highly impressed by the way the plot is taking the turn. The author is really a brilliant story teller. Also in this series there is a quite lot to learn about the British culture around the 2nd world war era. Harry Clifton and Emma Barrington are now getting older and Sebastian Clifton has started appearing in this book now.

The book ended at a very critical juncture and it will be interesting to read the next part to find out what happened to Sebastian and his friend Bruno.

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