Once in a while you read a book that is just so awesome that you lose a part of yourself when the book ends. ‘Bhima – Lone Warrior’ is one such book. For the ones who don’t know, let me tell you something about this book before I start the review. This is a translation of the Malayalam book ‘Randamoozham’ written by one of India’s literary giants – MT Vasudevan Nair, fondly called as MT. ‘Randamoozham’is one of the finest pieces of literature ever written. This English translation from Gita Krishnankutty is an attempt to bring this masterpiece to a larger audience.
‘Bhima – Lone Warrior’ is the story of Mahabharata from the perspective of the second Pandava – the mighty Bhima. How he sees the sequence of events that led to the Great War? The book strips the characters of their immortality and godly statuses. It is devoid of any superficiality and that is what makes it a memorable read, a believable one, presenting a logical viewpoint. Through this book we discover a hero in the powerful Bhima who has been portrayed time and again as the gluttony and blockhead Pandava who was always hidden between the righteous Yudhishtira who time and again stood for Dharma and the skillful warrior Arjuna who was unbeatable. The Bhima that MT brings out is a warrior unparalleled in strength and valor, a human being who had a soft and tender heart, who savored and nurtured emotions as any other being, who had sexual longings, who loved his family and could go any lengths for them, who silently watched over them while they slept peacefully, who yearned for Draupadi’s love knowing that she always loved Arjuna the most.
It goes without saying that the translation cannot come to the original, but for those who cannot read Malayalam, this is the closest you can get. Gita Krishnankutty does a fabulous job in translating this masterpiece. The duels are explained in such detail and with a vivid description that you can feel the adrenaline rushing inside your body. The war strategies and tactics used by either side is also explained amazingly well. MT had done a considerable amount of research before churning out this epic which is very evident as you read this book. As I reached towards the end of the book, I found a hero in Bhima, a lone warrior whom you cannot leave sympathizing with.
P.S. This is the second book about Mahabharata I have read in the past 3 months. The first was equally good. You can read a brief review here.