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‘A kingdom can expand any way it wants. There is no place for emotions in politics when it’s thinking of dividing a kingdom. I don’t mind if history does not recognise me as a great man. I don’t care if future generations label me the father of all-round destruction.’ Right down to his core, Duryodhan believes that the Kuru kingdom belongs to the Kauravas. He will not give away even an inch of that ancestral land without a fight. How can he? The Pandavas are not even the real sons of Maharaj Pandu, they are not true heirs of the Kurus. In his bestselling Marathi novel, Kaka Vidhate reimagines the enduring tale of the Mahabharat, turning away from the victors to listen to other points of view. In so doing, he reveals an endlessly fascinating protagonist: Duryodhan. He peels back layers upon layers to reveal unknown facets to the character. To some the Kaurava prince is an anti-hero, to others a hero no less than Arjun. In Vidhate’s telling, he is an enigmatic life force that shook and overwhelmed many a statesman and warrior. Krishna helped them, and the Pandavas won the war, a hollow victory. They lost as much as those they vanquished did. As the other side tells the story of the war—Duryodhan, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Dushasan, Shakuni and others who were thus far pushed to the margins of the epic—Vidhate turns on its head the greatest tale ever, to tell a story of monstrous jealousy and devouring greed. Everyone had blood on their hands. There were no winners even as one side wrested a gruesome victory—and Duryodhan knew it right from the start.
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