The word Hastinapur is quite soothing to my ears. Well, it was a very well known city during Mahabharata period. Hastinapur was the capital of the kingdom of the Kauravas, belonging to the Kuru dynasty of kings. The throne of this city was the prize over which the Kurukshetra war of the epic Mahabharata was fought. Most of the incidents in Mahabharata have taken place in this city of Hastinapur.
During my childhood I was a big fan of Mahabharata and regularly watched it on DD. Also in our school, probably in our 8th grade, we had Mahabharata book as part of our academics. The book was part of our Hindi subject and it was really interesting when our ‘Hotilal Sir’ used to narrate the book to us. No doubt, it’s the greatest epic ever. My Mahabharata knowledge was limited to the battle between Kauravas and the Pandavas, Ekalavya cutting his thumb, Draupadi Vastraharan, Bhim fighting the Cannibal Bakasura, amongst others. When I came across the book, ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’, I was a little thrilled. The book synopsis is very interesting.
‘The Mahabharata is the story of women, even though men have focused far too much on the Great Battle. It is women who have set events in motion, guided the action and measured the men. The Winds of Hastinapur begins at the point that Ganga was cursed and sent to Earth. She lives among the mortals and bears Shantanu, the King of Hastinapur, seven children, all of whom she kills. With the eighth, she leaves. That boy, who returns to Earth, will prove to be the key to the future of Hastinapur.The story, as told through the lives of his mother Ganga and stepmother Satyavati is violent, fraught with conflict and touched with magic’
I’m sure this book is written after a lot of research. Over the years numerous writers, poets, singers, film-makers and various artists have interpreted Mahabharata in their own way. While reading ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’ I was not able to correlate it with my limited Mahabharata knowledge. I felt a little happy at one point when I read about the birth of Pandu and Dhritarashtra. The book powerfully described about two ladies, Ganga the mother of Bhisma and his step mother Satyavati. Even though there’s very less Mahabharata in the book, but readers who like mythological stories will definitely enjoy it. To be honest, I didn’t find the book very interesting. I’m not too much into mythology kind of stuff and also, I found the story to be a little disorganized. But for readers who want to know more of Indian mythology, this book is highly recommended.
Title: The Winds of Hastinapur
Author: Sharath Komarraju
Publisher: Harper Collins