I was finally able to get some time to read a novel after a long time (I generally prefer reading non- fiction books) and chose to read Shashi Tharoor’s “ The Great Indian Novel“.
The title of a book is usually the first thing that grabs attention but the fact that it was Shashi Tharoor’s first novel and that the premise of the novel involved the story outline of one of India’s greatest epics of all time, The Mahabaratha, was very enticing.
My first exposure to The Mahabaratha saga was during my childhood when I saw some glimpses of the epic story telecast via TV serial episodes broadcast via Doordarshan. I never really understood the fascination at that time as it was too complex for my 5 year restless brain to dissect and assimilate. Coming back to the present day, as I read page after page of The Great Indian Novel my appreciation for the Mahabaratha and Shashi Tharoor’s talent to weave images of real Indian political characters into the story, grew manifold.
Tharoor has drawn caricatures and camouflaged the foibles of India’s most celebrated political stalwarts who helped shape the destiny of the Indian nation (and Pakistan and Bangladesh). The novel is right up there in the list of best Indian novels as it uncovers several details which let the readers peek into India’s pre-Independence and post-Independence days.
If you are looking for a quick journey that will help you understand the central theme of the Mahabaratha and politics of pre-independent India, The Great Indian Novel is highly recommended