28 June, 2016

#GuestPost :: Interesting Facts about Karna by Surendra Nath

About the Author:
Surendra tries his hand at writing fiction off and on. A few of his short stories have been published in books and magazines. 'Karna’s Alter Ego' is his first attempt at writing a full length novel. Earlier he wrote a novella that sank without a trace.

For a living, at 58, he runs after children in KiiT International School, and the strength needed for all this chasing, he draws from his previous experience in the defence forces. He also publishes a children’s magazine – 'Kloud 9'. He is the architect of a Children’s Lit Fest, that is into its third year now in 2015. 

Yes, he is married and lives happily with his wife and daughter at Cuttack. He has distant dreams of retiring as an author.


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Karna's Alter Ego

Karna, the ill-fated hero of ‘The Mahabharata’, was killed by Arjuna in the final battle. (Karna-Arjuna rivalry was much like Hector vs. Achilles.) 
5000 years later, we have a man named Vasu, who is quite like Karna – born illegitimate, very talented but denied all credits in life, rejected in love. He begins to identify himself with Karna. Vasu misses a medal in the Asian games, gets caught for telling an innocent lie and is overlooked for promotion. And interestingly Karna appears to him after every debacle to assuage and encourage him. 
It seems Vasu is Karna’s alter ego. 
In the end Vasu is faced with a life and death situation quite like Karna had faced Arjuna in his final battle. Will Vasu, finally, break the jinx? Will he win the endgame? Or will he go down fighting like his idol.
This is not a mythological tale but a contemporary take on myths related to the mythological character Karna.

Do you need to be versed with the Indian epic Mahabharata to enjoy reading this book? Not really. There is a glossary of related incidents does in case you are stuck about some incident referred in my book.

Here are some interesting facts about Karna:

1. Just before the war, Lord Krishna made an offer to Karna – he could share Draupadi as wife if he switched sides. Karna turned down the offer. Yes, it’s true. I quote Sri Krishna in Mahabharata Book 5 (Udyoga Parva section 140, “During the sixth period, Draupadi also will come to thee (as a wife).”

2. How long do you think the Pandavas stayed in the ‘Lakshagriha’ (house of sealing wax), before it was burned down? One week, one month, one season, one year? One year is the answer. In Karna’s Alter Ego, Karna reveals that if Duryodhan had any intention of burning them down, he could well have done it sooner rather than wait as long as a year. He only wanted them away from his sight. The drama could well have been the Pandavas’ ploy to garner sympathy. When nothing untoward happened for a year, it was the Pandavas (Bhim exactly) who burned down the house, and along with it six hapless citizens, to give the impression five Pandavas and their mother Kunti were dead.  

3. Why did Karna not advise his friend Duryodhan to accept Sri Krishna’s offer of avoiding war by giving away only five villages to the Pandavas? In my book, Karna explains he did talk to Duryodhan about that option. Duryodhan responded that he was quite aware that Lord Krishna had, in a previous incarnation (Vamana Avatar), made a similar request to Mahabali asking for land measuring three-footsteps, and had measured off two worlds entirely, leaving Mahabali with no room to stand on. Duryodhan didn’t want such a trick played on him, in the name of ‘only five villages’.

And here is one interesting fact about Karna’s Alter Ego. Each chapter is a standalone story that draws an analogy between the protagonist Vasu’s life and Karna’s life. And the whole adds up to a bigger story.

My next book is a sequel to this one. Vasu sets out on a quest for Karna’s Kavach-Kundal that had been taken away from him by Lord Indra. 

About the Book:

Karna, the ill-fated hero of Mahabharata. Many feel he deserved to win. If only luck had favoured him...

5000 years later, we have a man named Vasu, who is much like Karna – illegitimate birth, very talented but denied all credits in life, rejected in love, misses a medal in the Asian games, gets caught for telling an innocent lie, overlooked for promotion. He begins to identify himself with Karna, and interestingly Karna appears to him after every debacle to assuage and encourage him. 

It seems Vasu is Karna’s alter ego.








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