Book Review: I, Duryodhana

Author: Pradeep Govind

Duryodhana is always projected as the antagonist in the Mahabharata epic. He is known as the tyrant who was opposed to Dharma and as a result, the Kurukshetra war happened that saw the destruction of lineages particularly the Kurus.

However was he the only one to blame?

What about the betrayals, he faced when the Kounteya’s arrived causing ripples in his childhood? As per the laws of the land he was meant to be the legitimate successor of King Dhritarashtra given that the Kounteyas weren’t Pandu’s biological sons. The book talks about straying away from the path of righteousness that happened on all counts and even by those who were the torchbearers of the virtue, eg, Yudhisthira

The book takes you through the sojourn of the entire Mahabharata through Duryodhana’s eyes. He comes across as someone with not entirely black but grey shades. He faced betrayal from his kith and kin across the spheres of his life. He was disliked and wronged as well. Though that doesn’t excuse his actions, be it insulting Draupadi before the world or denying Indraprastha to Pandavas later, or the deceitful game of dice that changed the course of the history of Bharata.

The book doesn’t take sides but makes you think. It makes you ponder over the what-ifs in a new light from Duryodhana’s perspective. It shows that all that glitters is not always gold.

I first read about Duryodhana’s perspective in Maithili Sharan Gupt’s translated book years ago. This book only vindicated my stand. A great job is done by the author. Flawless language suited to the times with adequate hyperbole with a fast-paced narrative is the USP of the book. A must-read for mythology lovers.

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