karna's wife by kavita kaneI was itching to read Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen by Kavita Kane from a long time and after reading it, I’m feeling emotionally drained and raging how our society’s norms and conditions forces even a righteous person to walk on a wrong path.  I’m still heady while writing my thoughts about the book. It has aroused many painful emotion which refuse to subdue.

Karna is the most complicated and difficult character of the Mahabharata epic to understand and decipher. He is the most admired and yet has been equally insulted by other. People are often confuse whether to love Karna for a kind of fine human being he was or to hate him for insulting Draupadi publicly and brutally and treacherously killing Abhimanyu.

The author tries to decode Karna through his wife Uruvi. There is no such character in the original Mahabharata. Uruvi is a fictional character given birth by the author in order to make her mediator character between Karna and readers. Uruvi  is a wild but a good hearted Princess of Pukeya who fall in love with Karna at the first sight.

Kavita Kane makes Uruvi the protagonist of her book who fearlessly defends Karna and mercilessly lashes the one who ridicules him.  She is also the conscience of Karna. Uruvi vehemently criticizes Karna for his uncouth and unruly behavior during the gambling where he encourages Dushashana to disrobe Draupadi and also for him joining the team of barbaric Kauravas to kill Abhimanyu. She is also against his blind friendship for Duryodhana.

Uruvi’s criticism helps to bring out Karna’s side of the story. His repentance finds the words. Not once he defends his transgression and misconduct and was truly ashamed of himself. Kavita Kane has successfully explained that it was the suppressed anger of Karna against Draupadi which found an outlet and made him the part of heinous misdeed.  In the heat of the moment even a righteous man finds it difficult to judge right from wrong. This something happened in the killing of Abhimanyu.

Kavita, in no way defends Karna’s shortcoming. She is fully vocal through Uruvi. But Karna is known to be the generous and kind hearted man and such misconduct from him is unthinkable. He is the most righteous character of Mahabharata yet it is difficult to fathom his friendship with Duryodhana. The author explains every facet of Karna’s character quite convincingly that it becomes next to impossible not to love Karna and for once to overlook his wrong doings.

Kavita also gives voice to some more lesser known characters of Mahabharata like Vrushali, Karna’s first wife; Shona, Karna’s foster brother; Radha, Karna’s foster mother. They all further aids in understanding Karna and bringing out his persona.

Kavita Kane also raises her voice against the caste system in our society. Though she was not so staunch in her criticism as Shivaji Sawant was in his book Mrityunjaya. Yet she put a question mark on our mindset where people like Karna are ridiculed and rejected for  their lowly caste birth overlooking their merit and potential.

The author has also quite efficiently portrayed the love and hate relation between Karna and Draupadi. Though it did not find chunk of pages in the book but whatever is written it was magnificent. It was like telling more by using fewer words. It was so well written.

There is one character which might not get the reader’s sympathy is Kunti. Kavita Kane strongly believed that Kunti could have stop the war if she revealed the identity of Karna to her other sons. But she never did it. For Kunti, her respect was more important than Karna. Karna’s plight was profound and the way it was portrayed till the end was enough to surge pain in heart of the readers.  But it was Kunti’s heart which never melted.

The book follows the storyline of original Mahabharata plot. There is no deviation. So it was like the same known story reading all over again. But it is the characterization of relatively lesser known characters is the USP of the book. Especially the lead character Uruvi. One can easily get addicted to her character and will laugh with her and cry with her.

The Verdict:

Karna’s Wife is a superb book to read for all who loves the mythological books. Kavita Kane has a great story telling skills which makes even the familiar story to be new and fresh. A must read.

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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.

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