Blog Archives

Book Review: The Boys Who Fought by Devdutt Pattanaik

History, they say, is written by the victors. And we live in a world where the lines between history and mythology are fast blurring. Undoubtedly, the works of noted mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik come as a ray of hope in these torrid times.

Already a fan of his works (have read them all), I was keen enough to read ‘The Boys Who Fought’ although the cover clearly said this book is an illustrated version of Mahabharata for the children. In fact, one of the main reasons why I like to read Pattanaik’s books are his illustrations. A simple half=page graphic can convey a thought much easier than a full page of text.

The story of Mahabharata has been told since time immemorial, by various authors. What sets Devdutt Pattanaik apart is his interpretation of the text. Those who have not read ‘Jaya’ must immediately get a copy for themselves. However, this book is largely focused on the feud between Pandavas and Kauravas. And he divided the entire story into six chapters: fight as orphans, fight as refugees, fight as kings, fight as exiles, fight as warriors and fight as hermits.

True to his style, every chapter is full of factoids in grey boxes, catchy illustrations and deep insight into the apparent ‘straight’ storyline. As Devdutt Pattanaik often warns us on Twitter, we must not take mythological texts literally but look for the hidden meaning between the lines. Reading this book surely gives one a new perspective on the giant epic of India.

Devdutt’s books are a treasure trove of learning for anyone who loves mythology. There is a saying in Bengali ‘Ja nei Bharate, ta nei Bharate’ (something which is not mentioned in Mahabharata, does not exist in India). Pattanaik’s interpretation of the book reinforces this old saying even more.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

P.S. This review is part of Flipkart’s Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

Book Review: 7 Secrets of the Goddess by Devdutt Pattanaik

Book Review

Buy the book from Flipkart

A seasoned mythologist, Devdutt Pattanaik never disappoints when it comes to Indian scriptures. His writing comes as a breath of fresh air, giving a new perspective to the ancient texts, at a time when several quarters are hell bent on feeding the Sanatan Dharma down our throats!

Coming from the author of Jaya and Sita, 7 Secrets of the Goddess was a tad bit disappointing (specially the overall look of the book – the font size, presentation and cover – which gave a feel of a school textbook). Although Pattanaik makes his point well, we are left wanting.

The book talks of the ‘secrets’ of seven Godesses – Gaia, Kali, Gauri, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Vitthai. Gaia, the Goddess from Greek mythology blends in beautifully in this narrative of the Indian goddesses. Indian customs are explained in an angle never explained before and many traditions are given a logical foundation by the author.

A predominant narrative in the whole book is the equality of male and female forces in the ancient times and how balance tilted towards men as society evolved over time and patriarchy emerged. Pattanaik also champions the cause of gender equality as he talks of the divine feminine.

Like all his books, illustrations form the backbone of the flow of the narrative. In fact, like an excited teenage I almost stop reading the text to explore the images. This time the author chose to share photographs instead of hand-drawn images of the goddesses, though.

Like Shikhandi, Devdutt Pattanaik’s 7 Secrets of the Goddess is an academic read, contrary to his earlier works which narrated stories. Overall, the book added to the pleasure of the Diwali weekend.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

P.S. – This review is part of the Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

%d bloggers like this: