The Mahabharata has been variously called the greatest story ever told, and the fifth Veda; indeed, the story itself claims that that which is not here is nowhere. Such a grand epic, with a plethora of characters all of them grey to varying degrees, begs to discussed, debated and analyzed. The epic talks to everyone; each of us chooses to hear it differently. We intend Mahabharata Musings to be a joint exploration of the epic and the associated what ifs - intents, characters, situations, and sub-plots. It is designed to be a dialogue, not a soliloquy.
Her Stories: The Silenced Pivots of the Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is not shy of giving voice to uncomfortable & challenging opinions, particularly from some strong women characters like Satyavati, Kunti & Draupadi. Even so, many characters, pivotal or even keystone in their valency to the narrative, are strangely silent. It may (or may not) be a coincidence that these silent pivots are typically women. The story as we have it today in its commonly accepted version leaves us wondering about what went through their minds and hearts, as they bore their dharma and karma supposedly stoically. But, did the very real human frailties that make the Mahabharata other, more vocal, characters so relatable with even today, not touch these women? How would the story sound in their voices?
Format: We are all seekers here, and the greatest tool with us is an insatiable curiosity. The when, where, what, who & even how are usually objective, within an acceptable range of narrative differences. The real question and the source of learning is the question why. The natural corollary then would be the what if, or the alternate voices. The session would be a moderated open house; the moderators have no pretense of being definitive experts. We see our purpose in setting a common context for the discussion, and to provide the seed for the exploration of the alternate readings. Let us seek & explore this together.
Given the subject, we will be restricting the audience to 18 years and above.
Dr. Preetha Vasan is a professor of English Literature at Jyoti Nivas College, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate literature courses for the last twenty years. Her core areas of specialization include conflict literature, Exilic writing, and British literature. She has been a resource person at national level conferences speaking on the trajectories of conflict literature and the changing dynamics of literary studies. She has also published research papers in international journals for humanities and interdisciplinary research.
Jackie Jaishankar is meandering his way through life with his day job as a management consultant, working with clients to improve customer experience and operational excellence. His passion though is for Indian mythology and the classical arts; in the Mahabharata, he sees an endless source of intellectual challenges. He has been an irregular music critic and an indifferent blogger on the subjects of his passion. This is his first real foray into putting his passion for the epics in a structured public format.
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