OMG!! OMFG!!!!! YEAA!!! I want to shout like those little girls with purple hair, rainbow-colored nails and short skirts, when they see Justin Bieber on stage. I have those tears in my eyes which that elusive girl has when she is touched by Bieber (if she was kissed, she would have fainted, so just touched).
That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now after finishing the book this week (actually of last week) ”The Great Indian Novel” by Shashi Tharoor.
My love and respect for this man (Shashi Tharoor) has increased by 100 notches. What he is written in the book is pure bliss. As Khushwant Singh rightly puts it “Perhaps the best work of fiction written by an Indian”.
The surprising thing is that this book was published somewhere around 1989 and I never heard about this book and it was just because of the author I picked up this book.
The book narrates the story of India’s Independence where characters are taken up from the epic Mahabharata, Gandhi is portrayed as Bhishm, Nehru as Dhritrashtra, Pandu as Bose, so on so forth. The main story starts from Hastinapur and delves in to the life of each character. The author has equated each pre-Independence and post Independence character with one in the Mahabharata. The story starts with Ved Vyas dictating the Great Indian Novel to none other than Ganesha (recommended by Brahma). The events of British Raj, the Satyagrah, the Quit India movement, the Partition, the Post Independence India has been beautifully constructed in the backdrop of Mahabharata. Where the author explores the greatness of this country and it’s people in the process he also takes a dig at these characters and their beliefs.
Now this is by no means a simple task, this simply shows how learned the author is, it shows his mastery over the subjects he is writing about and even after writing it he dismisses that that is how the history was by saying that it was just as how he saw the history and not necessarily the right way the history should be portrayed.
I know my country’s history as much as was taught in the schools or seen in documentaries and movies, the book has a totally different take on it and the intertwining of the events of British India/Post Independence India and the events of Mahabharata is mind-blowing.
Forget writing the book (they say execution is the easiest part), thinking and developing such a concept itself requires a genius mind, which I always believed Mr. Tharoor has.
One of the minor reasons that I could finish the book in almost 1.5 weeks was the length of the book, the major reason was I didn’t want the book to finish (ever) and then I wanted it to finish too.
This is a top-notch read for all the serious readers, it’s a book for a lifetime. My only regret it I am reading this book so late (but then happy about reading it).
Kudos to Mr. Shashi Tharoor for writing such a brilliant book. People like him make this great nation great.