Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Visiting Mahabharata ..12 'A pause'.... (revisiting in 2011)

 It was Varsha's reaction to my ramble on the Richard Gere - Shilpa kiss episode that triggered this blog.
" Hi Nidhi I wish there was as much, if not more, fuss/protest/effigy burning/raging controversy each time a female foetus is aborted, or a woman is burned to death by her in-laws... not to mention rape and other forms of sexual violence against women (certainly what took place during the Gujarat riots). This GeRe/Shetty show is mild in comparison……………. Varsha".I have this wry thought the about India. The Ramayana (a tale of woes) of India is its endless Mahabharatha (conflict)! The arrest of a student of the Baroda University reinforced this feeling. The complaint was that a art student had painted gods in the nude, thus hurting the sentiments of the people. Anyway, these protests ostensibly were to uphold our tradition and culture and I had hoped that our epics would show us the way. I had hoped to see the wisdom of the Rishis’ distilled in them for our guidance. But I found the first few chapters awkward to say the least!

It is interesting that Ramayana, Ramrajya is what we want to bring back, precedes Mahabharata. I wonder whether Ramayana was thought to be too idealistic and hence Mahabharata was scripted to bring in more reality into our lives. Statistically, we are more certain to meet 100 Kauravas  from Mahabharata in our lives for one Rama. Even that seems to be optimistic. To be honest, when we say someone acts like Rama, we are mostly sardonic, if not derisive. (I am not talking about the time when we are at a satsang!).

Anyway I took a break for about eight weeks from my blogging. While in Seattle I remembered that Nandini had this wonderful version of Mahabharta by Samhita Arni -A child’s view -Publishers: Tara Publishing. Samhita's introduction is outstanding and her sketches are wonderful! Most importantly she has dealt with the subject, one that I found awkward and Tara wanted to hide from the kids and Gayathri chose to skip, without batting her eyelids! I see that while Kamala Subramaniam has tried to sanitise some events, Sam has dealt with them with a refreshing childlike directness. She was all of four when she started reading the epic and was seven she started writing!

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