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Oh! Radheya, a fictitious take on Mahabharata

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“Oh Radheya” is the story that  tells us there is an inevitability to every war because conflict and hostility is in the DNA of the universe.

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The author Padmakshan Mundachali is a journalist who writes on international taxation, corporate crimes, black money, and a host of other subjects, in national and international publications.

Every epic has been told and retold over generations, sprouting  newer and varied readings of the same. Mahabharatha , India’s epic that tells the story of two clans fighting for the kingdom,  too  has  been a source of  many   creative interpretations.

But  “ Oh  Radheya”  is of a different  genre. It is a fiction set in the backdrop of Mahabharatha and its eponymous war, but the epic is only incidental in the whole narrative.The author Padmakshan Mundachali fuses the spirit of the epic into the body of the character, Karna, to set off a  journey, the destination of which is uncertain and  surreal but  more truthful than the truth we are familiar with.It ultimately evolves into a journey that borders spirituality and philosophy.

The streak that runs through  “Oh Radheya” is Karna’s quest for truth. For long he believed truth lies in mustering  strength enough  to annihilate “Adharma”. It is understandable given that the he himself was a victim of destiny , being deprived of love of  his own parents, kingdom and glory. But then after having mastered the art of war, in another tragedy that besets the character, he realises the futility of war and  the irrationality in determining what is  just and unjust.

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Is War really worth it?Do the lives of so many men need to be sacrificed for the sake of one man’s greed?Does War really justify giving solace and honour to the wives and children of the Warriors who are slaughtered?Can peace really be obtained through War?

Therefore on the eve of war Karna meets the seminal characters of the epic, such as Krishna, Duryodhan, Dauapati, Bhishma,etc. and  explore a last minute possibility for averting  the war, but the more he spoke to them the more he understood the inevitability of war.  Krishna does not want to stop the war. He said “Why should I. I am here to ensure the flow of time.he tells Karna “No one can stop this war. It is like the flow  of water in a river. Karna realises this when Duryodhana himself does not find any difference between half and full when the question of sharing the kingdom arises.Draupati  confesses that she loves Karna as a woman but she was needed by Pandavas to survive the war.

Karna realises then that war is written in the manuscript of the universe.

m.padmakshan@gmail.com.               Book is available on Amazon