Roll of the Dice - Anand Neelakantan - No Cost Library

AJAYA : Role of the Dice 

Roll of the dice - anand neelakantan
   Author(s): Anand Neelakantan      
                                    Publisher: Platinum Press, Year: 2014                                            

A bestseller in India, this book’s plot revolves around Bhishma, the patriarch of Hastinapur, who is finding it difficult to keep the empire united. His able Prime Minister Vidur is assisting him in this job.
On the other hand, down South, the powerful Guru of the Southern states is waiting to make his move on Hastinapur. He wants to impose his dark will on all of India at any cost. The kingdom of Hastinapur is being ruled by the blind king Dhritarashtra and his queen with a foreign origin, Gandhari.
The peace of the throne is being threatened by Kunti, who is a rival queen. It is her ultimate dream to see her first-born seated on the throne of Hastinapur. In this sinister quest of hers, an unscrupulous priest comes to her aid and ensures that Prince Duryodhana does not become king.
Parallel to this story, readers will find the character of Eklavya, a young outcast who wants to become a mighty warrior despite being from a lower caste. Another important character who plays a pivotal role in this book is Karna, who travels south to become a mighty warrior and archer. Balrama and Ashwadhama are also given significant roles in the plot.
It is obvious from the book that the author likes to research his facts thoroughly and that’s what makes his books an excellent read. His writing is laid back and he takes his time to present the book to his readers.
Readers who like to read books on mythical characters and are fans 
of epic stories will find this book very engrossing.
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Book Review:
They say history is usually the winning tale and this has always been mirrored across the ages; with the defeated often depicted as heroes or evil, brutal barbarians. The narrative is never told from the other viewpoint and this is exactly what the two part series Ajaya 1 and Ajaya 2 do. The author Anand Neelakantan took from the other viewpoint, i.e. the Kaurava viewpoint, the greatest Indian epic-Mahabharata and narrated the story from.

The plot of the book is just the normal Mahabharata tale; beginning with Bhishma's sacking of the city of Gandhar (Kandhahar), Drona's training courses, Ekalavya's thumb, Karna's archery fight, Kunti's swayamvar, lake palace fire, Bhima killing Jarasandha, Sishupala 's death in Krishna 's hand, Indraprastha formation, and the dice game that changed India's past, ending w Yet the distinction between this and other Mahabharata stories is that the characters and background lack religious elements. The novel depicts the Kauravas as heroes, and the Pandavas as villains, and is rather unorthodox in that regard. The best part of this novel is that in comparison to the normal stories of angels and godly powers, both characters are portrayed as human of real human feelings and ambitions.

While we all grew up with the picture of Kauravas as these scheming criminals, this book talks about how the much bigger and tougher Bhima always bullied Suyodhana (Duryodhana) as a boy and how the Pandavas were always preferred by their coach, how Krishna helped Arjuna snatch the first love of Suyodhana, Subhadra, etc., and how all these factors led to his dislike of the Pandavas.

The novel is a very contradictory and mind-provoking reading because it encourages a line of thought we have never had and we find it tough to think about, however it lets us think.

This also depicts the caste system in a rare-depicted-before manner, with Suyodhana being the first to challenge caste in the Kuru family, and he is depicted as a man who firmly insists that one should be judged on merit rather than being able to do what they want because of caste.

With such a viewpoint, the author Anand Neelakantan has done a brilliant job of writing this and it is a novel that presents Mahabharata like nothing else.

Each Indian student should read this because it provokes a chain of reflection to challenge current social problems such as caste and it also demonstrates the value of looking at it from all different perspectives.

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