seven miscarriages (seven infants drowned). The eighth child, Devavrata, survived, while she succumbed. (Ganga isn't a Sanskrit word, but Austric in origin, according to Dr Suniti Kumar Chatterji. Ma Ganga is akin to Mekong, a word from Mon-Khmer language). Gandhari's one hundred sons. She was the chief among queens and concubines of Dhritarashtra. Her position made her the mother-protectress of all of them—co-wives and their offspring.

How could Vyasa write the life stories of his descendants from birth to death? Did he live that long? Kunti’s sons were not from Pandu. Whose were they? She had a pre-marital son Karna. Was she dissolute? Polyandry wasn't an Aryan institution. Why five husbands for Draupadi?

Why, and for whose benefit, was it insisted upon? Why is Bhishma so servile to Satyawati? That Draupadi was stripped, and Kaurava elders witnessed it, is a white lie. How does Krishna suddenly appear in the Swayamvara of Draupadi and thenceforward assume such a central and crucial role? Who really set afire the Jatugriha (house of shellac) in Varanavat? How did Draupadi know Karna to be a charioteer's son when she addressed him so and rejected him for this reason? This flagrantly flouted her father's vow that only bravery, not case, would be

considered? This jumbled list, by way of summation of sorts, doesn't do adequate justice to the way the author has raised her own revolutionary architecture of the epic, with scrupulous attention to detail, and unremitting care for the quality of the material employed- her piercing look into the skein of perfidy and permissiveness called Mahabharata. Whose Jaya Kavya is it? As to Vyasa, it could mean a compiler, or diameter of a circle (by extension, one who rounds up a circle). It would be wrong to identify him with Dawaipayna a seminal character of the epic.

If Mahabharater Maharanye kicks off a debate, literary and scholarly, the book would have achieved its purpose. If it leads to the epic being read again and widely in the light of its premises and deductions, that would be a welcome development in our times when the TV has replaced reading. This work of literary criticism marks a turning point in our understanding and evaluation of the epic. Uncritical idolizing of the epic tends to mask its ugly blotches, deflects serious scrutiny, preempts uneasy questions and lurking doubts. If amounts to clouding the mind. The purpose of meaningful study of text or criticism must be to enlarge our minds. That Mahabharater Maharanye has done this in the case of this writer, he likes to acknowledge and cherish gratefully.