A.P. Rajshekhar's Reviews > Arjun: Without a Doubt

Arjun by Shinde Sweety
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really liked it

Story – the two minute version

The book starts with the POV of Arjuna in the forest where the Pandavas and Kunti are living incognito after escaping from the house of lac. Then the scene shifts to Panchal where the kingdom is preparing for Swayamvar of Draupadi. Here, the readers are introduced to Krishna and Draupadi's through her own words. From there on, each event in Mahabharata is portrayed from the POV of either Arjuna or Draupadi.

What I liked

1. The relationship of Arjuna and Krishna. In any book related to Mahabharata, the first thing I look for is the portrayal of Parth-Madhav. The author has done full justification in this regard. I would dare say that this is first time an Indian author has depicted their friendship as it is in the epic.

2. Arjuna's dedication to archery. Dr. Shinde beautifully depicts the sweat and blood Arjuna had shed to become the peerless archer that he was. Majority of authors forget this aspect of Arjuna.
3. Lord Indra's pride in the victories of Arjuna and his love for Arjuna.

4. Karna's one sided rivalry with Arjuna. In the epic, Arjuna had only one rival – he himself. However, with the emergence of Karna as a tragic hero in Indian literature, this aspect of Arjuna is selectively forgotten. That is not the case with Arjuna, Without a Doubt. There is a long conversation between the three Krishnas that makes it clear that Arjuna neither considered Karna as a rival nor was intimidated by him ever.

5. The unique relationship between Arjuna and Draupadi. In the epic, most of their conversation happens through eyes, smiles and sarcastic banter. In this book, these translate to explicit conversation. And that makes understanding their relationship much easier.

What could have been better

1. Arjuna's thoughts about Khandav-dahana. This is not first time that an author has shown Arjuna as traumatized for his role in burning of Khandava forest. However, nowhere in the epic, this has been mentioned.

2. Facts about Gandiva, specifically the fact that nobody except Krishna and Arjuna could lift it. Draupadi could never have taken it to her room.

3. Reason for Arjuna's silence during dice hall incidence. I wont spoil it for anyone who has not yet read the book. However, I feel a better reason could have been found in his inner struggle between cold logic and emotions.

4. Portrayal of Subhadra. In the epic, the only person for whom Arjuna openly declares his love is Subhadra. That could have been taken into consideration.

5. Darker shades in the portrayal of other Pandavas and Kunti. I am not going into details as that could spoil many of the twists in this tale. The portrayal could have been more balanced.

Overall Rating
4 out of 5. A must read for any fan of Arjuna and Arjun-Draupadi pairing.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2015 – Started Reading
February 6, 2015 – Shelved
February 20, 2015 – Finished Reading

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