“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.
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.
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.
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