For the story of the Great war is also the story of the women.. Women who led to The Rise of Hastinapur.
The Rise of Hastinapur by Sharath Komarraju is the second book in Hastinapur series. The first book, The Winds of Hastinapur speaks about how Ganga and Satyavati start the celestial process which lead to the Great War of Mahabharata.
The Rise of Hastinapur starts where Ganga speaks of future, where she is carrying the dead body of her son Devavrata (Bhishma) and other dead beings with her flow. She speaks of other women, Amba, Kunti, and Gandhari, who also played a major role in the Great War. The Rise of Hastinapur is a book that describe the story of these three women who some way or the other contributed to the cause of Mahabharata.
Amba, a princess from Kasi along with her sister Ambika and Ambalika were captured and won in a war to be married to Satyavati’s son, King Vichitraveerya. But Amba’s captor, Bhishma was not aware of her love with Salva, the King of Saubala. Amba then confesses her desires to Satyavati. She requests her to cancel her marriage with Vichitraveerya and make arrangements for her to go back to Salva. Bhishma retaliates, but Amba convinces Satyavati.
But Shalva outright ignores Amba’s love, saying that Bhishma won her fair and square in the battle. So, he will not accept her and asks her to go back. Hurt and ashamed, Satyavati resides in the forest under a sage’s care. She sacrifices all her worldly wishes in selfless service of Mother Nature. But the mother has some other plans for her. Plans which will make her as a major contributor in Bhishma’s end.
Pritha, Princess of Kunti is in Mathura to attend her brother Vasudevá’s wedding to Princess of Mathura, Devaki. But a soothsayer’s prediction makes Kamsa, Devaki’s brother, put both the newlyweds into a cellar. Pritha is forcefully sent back to Kunti, but her mind keeps wandering off to her captured brother. In Kunti, she tries to convince her father to launch an attack on Mathura and save Vasudev, but the King doesn’t listen to her. She then tries to get help from Sage Durvasa. Once she leans on Durvasa for help, her destiny takes a turn for which she is not prepared. Pritha’s transformation into Kunti is the best part of the book.
Away from all this, princess of Gandhar, Gandhari, is worried about depleting resources and gold from her Kingdom. She gets to know how Hastinapur, especially Bhishma plotted to take away all the Kingdom’s gold from Gandhar’s gold mines. She threatens him in the name of war, but Bhishma cuts of all Gandhar’s resources. Now, only one option is left for Gandhari, to give into a condition presented by Bhishma which can change the condition of Gandhara as well as secure future for Gandhari. But will she keep her pride aside and accept defeat?
Overall, we loved The Rise of Hastinapur. And more than the first part. Mostly, I have noticed that mythological series turn boring after 1st book, which I felt even when I read Meluha series by Amish Tripathi. But The Rise of Hastinapur is really amazing. You will not feel like keeping the book down. And yes, just like the previous book, The Rise of Hastinapur has been written keeping in mind the role of women in the Great War of Mahabharata.
What I look for in Mytho-Fiction is how creatively the writer can connect dots without twisting the true story to a large extent. And Komarraju has done that effortlessly and beautifully.
My favorite character turned out to be Bhishma. In the background, he is stealthily pulling strings, making good alliances and getting marriages done, making new strategies and increasing the might of Hastinapur. When you read the story of these three women, you forget Bhishma for some time. But then when the book is at its climax, you realize that Bhishma’s character is the main one, the one who has all the strings.
Looking forward to the third part now. I recommend this book to everyone. Mytho-fiction fans would love to read this. If not, you know where I blog. 🙂