Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Book of Bhima ( Krishnavatara IV ) - K M Munshi

The fourth book of the 'Krishnavatara' series, came into hand after a while. Surprisingly, it failed to impress me. Unlike the earlier ones ( especially the second), this was way too light and least insightful of those read thus far. It appeared as a plain and simple retelling of the story, with Bhima being the action man, as the name suggests.

Starting off from where the previous book was left, K M Munshi takes us through the intial days of the Pandava clan with Draupadi. Having to face the reality of five husbands, each a hero on their own right, Draupadi quickly had to device a system and method, to prevent the disintegration and infighting among the brothers. A method, did she device, in the form of time-share and had her way with Yudhishtira to get that accepted by the brothers.

Bhima stood out from the rest, not only by his physical strength and the gigantic size. He was the most innocent, most lively, full of pranks and notorious, despite his age. He has his way with the world, which goes beyond people of his stature. He managed to win over the man-eating  'Rakshasa tribe' ,married to Hidimbi , ruled them as King Vrikodara, single handedly rescued his family and protected them against all the forces. He believed that his role in the family is that of the protector and he takes pride in it, which often makes him upset with his elder brother for his decisions which he does not in agreement with. However, behind the facade of the giant structure and often ridiculous shows, remain a shrewd and highly intelligent mind. A mind constantly work towards the betterment of the family. It was his clever maneuvers that won half the a forces of his father-in-law , accompanying them on their march towards Hastinapura. It was his handy work, that saw Krishna and the Yadava leaders to join the journey. It was his ploy and work that saw Bhanumati's sister and brother from reaching early to Hastinapura.

The meticulous plan laid by Bhima seems to have worked well on the Pandava's arrival at Hastinapura. There was only one man, who could think beyond the measure of Bhima. Krishna, went a step ahead and made sure that the Kaurava King made announcement of Yudhishtira as the new King. He, in order to fulfill the promise he gave to Bhanumati, to retain Duryodhana as the king of Hastinapura, managed to rally the opinion around moving the new Capital to Khandavaprastha, not before securing the large number of resources towards this goal. The book ends with the new city of Khandavaprastha  being in force.

The book does have few interesting moments. What strikes me the most is the 'adolescent like' love affair between  Jalaandhara ( sister of Bhanumati) and Bhima ( Bhima with all the lovers traits) and the Krishna-Bhima rendezvous and the way he managed to persuade Bhima to return to his brothers. The writing in general was a continuation from the previous books. This did not have the same impact of the previous books.
The Book of Bhima - Krishnavatara IV  ( 1967 )

K M Munshi

Bhavan's Book University

253 Pages

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