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Ekalavya of the novel refuses to pay Gurudakshina, the fees the teacher Drona demands from Ekalavya for his having listened to him secretly standing outside the room where Drona taught the Pandavas and the Kauravas. In an amiable anachronism, the Pandavas are credited with a cricket ball, which they lose to be retrived by their teacher Drona.

Indian independence and the role of the Mahatma in it therefore occupy a major chunk of the fictional narrative. Tharoor argues, in keeping with the tastes of the present day readers, the young readers of the day in particular, In the olden days our epic narrators thought nothing of leaving a legendary hero stranded in mid-conquest while digressing into sub- plots, with stories, fables and anecdotes within each.

But these, Ganapathi, are more demanding times. Leave Ganga to his devices and start telling fables about Devayani and Kacha, and your audience will walk in droves Commenting about the elections, Tharoor says there are no victors in such a battle, and ads, this election is not Kurukshetra; life is Kurukshetra and History of Kurukshetra.

The struggle between dharma and adharma is a struggle the nation, and each of them in it. That struggle, that battle took place before this election; it will continue after it.

In The Great Indian Novel, the emergency is allegorical represented as the siege of Hastinapur, the kingdom fighting against the Kaurvas. Tharoor draws a possible allegorical between the myth and history by presenting Priya Duryodhani that was Indira Gandhi who conspires to get rid of Pandavas in every possible way. When Vyas came to realizes that Duryodhani and her minors had been stripping the nation of the values and institutions which had been right to cherish. Hence it presented the emergency, interpreted as an attempt by Indira Gandhi to humiliate the citizens and take the Indian Democracy for granted but India has strong democratic roots and it cannot be replaced by dictatorship for long.

Democracy can never be suppressed. After a temporary hibernation, Indian Democracy rose once again like the phoenix from the ashes. The brutal sentence of a long exile of her five husbands may be analysed with an allegorical reference to the tarnishing of the independence of the major concepts of the democratic government. Tharoor incorporating not only the factual history of the post-Independent times, but also during the independence, include some of his observations on the contemporary politics, by the means of satire, humour, bathos and at times farce.

Tharoor uses the Mahabharata as a device and in some ways an interpretative tool, for structuring the narrative out of the confusing developments of modern Indian history.

Tharoor resorts to allegory where conflict between meaning and representation is properly fore-grounded. Tharoor tone of irony and his inclination towards satiric mode of thinking and presentation gives us an idea of his serious observation of Indian traditional values which were preached and practiced by the ancient sages. Tharoor protests the subjecting of the entire Indian value system to mockery at the hands of westernized Indian intellectuals in conference rooms.

The appearance of the archetypal characters and events can be seen in the novel. It might have been Tharoor as well as Ved Vyas who exposes the intricacies of the great epic with its modern relevance to the twentieth century. Here Draupadi Mokrasi stands for democracy. Tharoor admits that he saw the meaning of Independence come pulsating to life as unlettered peasants rose in the villages to pledge their votes for democracy.

Tharoor says that he saw the journalists younger than the constitution; relearn the meaning the freedom but discovering the world that was erased from their note books, and also Draupadi face glowed in the open, the flame of her radiance burnt more brightly than ever. The multiple events of the novel can essentially be viewed with a binary vision-realistic and imagery, modern and mythological, serious and ironical eventually reflecting the techniques of real depictions and dreams.

The plight of people of India lies in accepting their political leaders blindly and with complete faith. The prime minister ruled like a goddess and her own conceptions grades black and white: Tharoor has parodied some characters and the places in the novel. India helped freedom fighters of Bangladesh and as a result Bangladesh got freedom from Pakistan.

Jayaprakash Narayan, a former freedom fighter, leader of the Janta Party is represented as Jayaprakash Drona. He opposed the rule of Indira Gandhi.

One important similarity between Drona and Jayaprakash Narayan is that both of them were experts in their fields. Drona was expert in the art of archer while Jayaprakash Narayana was an expert in art of politics. He came out to defend and strengthen the institutions of democracy which were being ignored by Indira Gandhi. The narrator fictionals a character from The Mahahharata who more or less presents the picture of Jayaprakash Narayana in the novel: At last the people rose.

Or, as always in India, some of the people rose, led by an unlikely figure who had stepped from the page, so it almost seemed of the history books. Jayaprakash, Drona emerged from his retreat and called for a People's Uprising against Priya Duryodhani The narrator also points out towards the Jayaprakash movement in the novel which was led and supported by Drona. The movement was also supported by almost all the non-left political parties which had been trounced in They found a popular leader emerging in the movement.

These parties believed he would enable them to acquire credibility as an alternative to Congress. The narrator has given an insight into this movement that Drona's uprising was a peaceful one but it was not really an uprising but a mass movement.

It was, however, a movement that rapidly caught the imagination of the people and ignited that of the opposition. Drona preached not only against the whole monopoly of national evils, including which the Prime Minister had campaigned in the election.

The narrator has also mentioned the internal emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. Censorship on the press was imposed, too, under the Rule of 48 of the Defence and Maintenance of Internal Security of India Act of The newspapers were not allowed to publish inter-alia reports which affected India's relations with foreign powers.

The newly appointed Information and Broadcast minister, Vidya Charan Shukla, warned all foreign correspondents in New Delhi that they were subject to expulsion from the country if they failed to submit their dispatches and broadcast script for censorship.

Democracy was shattered during the period of Indira Gandhi, and political unrest in the countrynwould lead to total anarchy. The ruling parties now decided that Indira Gandhi should be taken to the court and face a law suit for her actions during her emergency regime.

Indira was accused of making umiecessary amendments in the constitution. The parties tried to restore those rights again. The narrator also describes the episode of Indira Gandhi being trialed by the court for making the changes in the basic form of the constitution. The same was happening in Pakistan as well. Indira Gandhi was also facing the same charges though in a modest way. Indira had to face the legal trials. The narrator makes an ironic commentary on the judiciary of India and asserted that'the law could not do any harm to the people in high offices.

Since everyone who had lived in India for the last three years with his eyes open knew she had subverted the constitution, it did not seem to be a charge that required much proof Yet the chosen means did not serve the choicest ends: Pakistan was once again looking for an opportunity to launch a fresh attack on India as Pakistan had seen the outcome of Indo-China war, The Kamistanis, too, saw the haze of transience around his eyes.

They began their preparations soon after he had unassumingly assumed office, and seized the first tactical opportunity to make their second grab for Manimir. In , the main issue of Indo-Pak war was Jammu and Kashmir.

The main cause of this second war between India and Pakistan was the Rann of Kachchh which is a marshy place between the Sindh provincial border and the former Kathiwar states. Now, it is under the possession of India. Pakistan claimed that the Ran was an arm of the sea and consequently the frontier should be drawn in its centre but India, accepting the old border line between Sindh and Kathiwar states, held that it had been the international frontier since Their dispute led to the war.

Pal prayed from dusk till dawn, and then gave the order for counter-attack. Our army had learned its lessons from the Chakra humiliation, and hits back so hard that our troops were just seven kilometers from Kamistanis most populous city. Laslut, when another cease-fire intervened. The narrator has also described the victory of the Janta Party and its celebration in an Indian way. The celebration of the victory of the election is like a national festival in the country.

Somebody shouted. The chant picked up the variety, and rhythm like Drona Zindabad! Yudhishtir, Zindabad! Janta Front, Zindabad! The novel projects out to be powerful weapon in the favour of both the nation and the individual.

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Dharma is a spherical whole that can be understood from varied dimensions. Dharma as Tharoor conceded is multi-dimensional. One can examine this Dharma running through our mythological and history and although it is entirely dissolved in our body politic. Tharoor seems to portray its crystallized political dimension in the depiction of the emergency, skillfully representing the blend of mythic space surpassing the decades of modern history.

Tharoor accomplishes the portrayal of the struggle during the emergency through the canvas of Mahabharata. It aptly reshapes the nation spaces. Narrating history in a postmodern ambience itself proved to be a herculean task ultimately overcome by Tharoor.

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It can be distinctly noted that while attempting to interpret the complicated events of the tale of the twentieth century Indian politics, obviously requires a rounded conception for its complete and comprehensive understanding. It contains the history of almost a century. The political figures of national and international importance make this epic a worth reading.

The epic cannot be dissociated from the ancient past of India. It has rich elements of mythology. The novel also states the political development of postcolonial India. The novel is also a political satire as it satirizes the key political figures and institutions. Gandhi is truly the hero of this epic. Gandhi the father of the nation without whom this epic would have been incomplete.

The novel is a wonderful blend of history, myth and fantasy. Myth is a system of hereditary stories of ancient origin which were once believed to be true by a particular cultural group and which served to explain in terms of the intensions and actions of deities and other supernatural beings, why the world is as it is and things happen as they do, to provide a rationale for social customs and observances and to establish the sanctions for the rules by which people conduct their lives.

An abiding characteristic of the Indian mind has been discovered connections between myth and reality. Characters from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha are perennial contemporaries for Indians who acknowledge the continuing influence of the two national epics on their private and public lives. The Great Indian Novel was like Mahabharatha, a revised, re-written, re-read text. Shashi Tharoor has taken the Mahabharata as a blueprint and filled it with a contemporary cast for his witty send-up of pre-and post-independence India.

He has reconstructed the major strands of modern Indian history in the form of an epic spoof. Like the epic of Vyasa, the novel is divided into eighteen books and its narrative is presented in a multi coloured style and in a digressive manner. In other words, the text is born out of a written transcription of an oral narrative.

Tharoor, while expressing his gratitude towards this master narrative, says that the Mahabharta has come to stand for so much in the popular consciousness of Indianess: The epic truly encompasses the country.

Tharoor has no hesitation in seeking parallels from the great Indian epic. Acknowledgeing the great indebtness to the Mahabharata, the author says: Many of the characters, incidents, and issues in the novel are based on the people and events described in the great epic the Mahabharata. Tharoor has transformed the ancient myth of the Mahabharata by using it to recreate history and politics of modern Indian.

The Mahabharata has been a source of imagination to all artistic genres down the ages. It cannot be considered as just as a text but it is a tradition.

The complex and many storied plot of this enormous epic, largely in oral tradition have been handed down generation to generation.

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The central theme of the epic is the clash between two branches of the same family, the Kauravas and the Pandavas, over a disputed patrimony but the story and its characters have a great impact on the minds of the people that they have become an integral part of their lives. The principal characters of Mahabharata have been conceived as a major institution of India. Bhima represented as an army, Arjuna as a press and Draupadi as democracy. The marriage of Draupadi and Arjuna has a symbolic connotation.

The modern Arjuna is a journalist, a representative of the Indian press. The political events of the twentieth century on the basic structure of the Mahabharata, he takes man liberties with the original story and its characters. Tharoor was very innovative in his experimentation from the very outset.

As the text opens, the modern Ved Vyasa is anxious to find a scribe for his story of India. His scribe, Ganapati, whom Tharoor had been found that the Shrewd and intelligent eyes, though which was staring owlishly. According to K. The superimposition of the political events of the twientieth century on the basic structure of the Mahabharata is made plausible be variations in stylistic levels and tones.

Incidently, the original book has eighteen chapters and the war also lasts for eighteen days. Tharoor has preserved to figure eighteen episodes of this novel. Tharoor uses myth to manipulate a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity, which according to T. Eliot says that, A way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and significance to the immense panorama of futurity and anarchy which is contemporary history.

Instead of narrative method, it can be mythical method also. It is, Eliot seriously believes, a step towards making the modern world possible for art Eliot Tharoor uses the myth elaborately to function as the proto-type.

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Villainous advisors like Shakuni; self-seeking and arrogant politicians like Priya Duryodhani, whose unwarranted greed for power brought about untold misery and suffering to the people. Tharoor uses the mythic setting as a parallel to the modern age. Tharoor makes a bold and creative use of the mythic setting to render in his novel mythic Indianess. His re-narration of past as present is not devoid of excesses in modification of the original text, but he also invented some of the very striking analogies.

For instance, his Karna appears with the cause, half-way through the narrative as Gangaji ends the Mango-salt match.

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In keeping with the view, the narrative design of the Mahabharata. After introducing the narrator, the story moves on to describe the love of Shantanu, king of Hastinapur. Tharoor zests it with humour and parody. Thus, Myths for the modernists and post-modernists proffered artistic method and poetic prop. Hutcheon says that these f-ictions self- reflexive, contradictory, working Within conventions in order to subvert them and, incorporates all three of these domains: Fictions that can be labelled as postmodern historiographic metafiction have appeared on the Indian scene both before and after independence.

In The Great Indian Novel has its intertextuality, that uses real events historical and political , dominant mythologies and epics as the Mahabharata and thoughts of real personages as intertexts. As the novel formally begins at the end with the news of the death of Priscilla, it ironically ends at the beginning with the continuation of the same news.

Verily Ved Vyas says, the end is the arbitrary invention of the teller, but there can be no finality about his choice. Historiographic metafiction may be defined as an inverted yet improved model of the convention historical novel. In historiography metafictional works problematize history, by portraying historical events and personalities only to subvert them.

They attempt to re-write and re-present the past in fiction so that the past can be opened up to the present; by this they prevent the past from being conclusive and teleological; such metafictional works posit no single truth, but truth in the plural. Also, such truths are relative to the specific place and culture Balaswamy Historiography metafiction differs from the historical novel in many ways. According to George Lukacas, the historical novel deals with history by presenting a microcosm which generalizes and concentrates through a protagonist, a type who synthesis the general and the particular.

It usually relegates historical personalities to secondary roles, for the historical novel is primarily concerned with fiction, rather than history. The historiographic metafiction differs from its predecessor in all these respects. There is a desire in these novels to close the gap between the past and the present and also a wish to rewrite the past in a new context.

A very significant aspect of postmodernist metafiction is its constant act of parodying, which is done not to destroy the past, but both to enshire the past and to question it.

In it lies the clue to understand the postmodern paradox. Along with paradox, self-reflexivity or self-consciousness is another vital characteristic of postmodernist metafictions. It is acknowledged and indicated by the literal translation; the novel adapts and adopts the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata.

Tharoor has taken the ancient epic as the basic framework and filled it with a contemporary cast of political characters for a serious and ironical reconsiderations and representation of recent Indian history. Tharoor uses a single myth to basically emphasize the same postmodern tendencies.

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Tharoor employs his pre-text for the purpose of parody, irony and moreover, for breaking the illusions about the past. The kind of intertextuality provided by the Mahabharata helps Tharoor to use and abuse the intertextual echoes, inscribing their powerful allusions and then subverting that power through irony. Tharoor has displayed a shrewd matching skill in making the characters of the Mahabharata walk, talk, act, procreate and die in the contemporary setting of India, before and after her independence.

The intervening books or chapters of The Great Indian Novel teasingly oscillate between the epic story and contemporary history. The re-presentation of the historical personages of Indian history will suffice here. The parodic and subversive element immediately creeps in when the narrator adds parenthetical observations: Gangaji tried not to sound pompous while saying this, and nearly succeeded.

The note of irreverence and parody always follows the accounts of the various heroic achievements of Mahatma Gandhi. These attempts of subversion or puncturing of established images, with no malevolent intentions, are strictly in line with the historiographic metafictions canons of installing the past only to contest it.

Dhritarashtra, the blind ruler of Hastinapur, represents the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, the idealist who was blind to many realities around him. In the portrayal of Dhritarashtra, Tharoor pours in enough subjectivity in true postmodernist manner that robs away any offensiveness. Pandu, true to his mythical counterpart, rebels against the authority of Gangaji and decides to strike it alone by fleeting to Germany and Japan that was contemporary history.

The single minded obsession of Karna to be free from the hegemony of the Hindus paves the way for the formation of Karnistan Pakistan. Looking briefly at the other questions, Priya Duryodhani equal to thousands sons as Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi.

Tharoor indulges here in another fashion of the postmodernists: The most inverted and subverted character, was Draupadi Mokrasi, result of the union of Dhritarashtra and Lady Georgina Drewpad, wife of Viscount Drewpad who presided over the partition of the country, born on 26 January , so cleverly referred to as Draupadi Mokrasi by the narrator.

The subversions of the epic framework have been freely, creatively, meaningfully done. The introduction of Krishna, another mythical figure from the epic, as the local secretary and MLA of the Kaurava Party in Gokarnam in Kerela, going under the name, Dwarakaveetile Krishnankutty Parathasarathi Menon, raises a few amused ripples came to know the antecedants of the novelist.

Apart from its vast, mythical structure, The Great Indian Novel displays many shrewd and delightful practices of intertextuality. Many titles of its eighteen books incidently styled on the eighteen chapters of the Bhagwat Gita and eighteen books of the Mahabharata by their whimsical and clever references to other literary texts conform to the postmodernist conventions: Kaye; the Koestler novel Darkness at Noon is parodied in the title of the tenth book Darkness at Dawn.

The narrator of the story Ved Vyas, scribe is Ganapathi, as the epic has it. The whole narration is done in first person to the narrate present, Ganapathi, with countless intrusions by the narrator, diversions, reminiscences, harangues, etcetera that puts the novel undoubtedly in the metafictions class.

Its self-reflexivity is demonstrated at the beginning of every chapter, most markedly in the last episode of Yudhishtir entering heaven. The narrator lapses from prose into poetry and metre, again self-reflexivity, declaring that the subject under discussion requires sometimes sophistry, some other times bathos.

The Great Indian Novel thus incorporating many elements of the historiography metafictions works problematizes the recent Indian history. The narrator in The Great Indian Novel presents may or may not be the presentation of what really happened. The narrator was participant in some events, an ex-centric participant, but claims to know what happened in places where he was not present.

The narrator purportedly present in such places, that maintains. The last march of Yudhisthir is dreamt out by the narrator elaborately. In his dream, Yudhishtir follows the footsteps of his epic counterpart for most part, and then suddenly subverts at the most important moment.

In characteristics postmodernist fashion, Shashi Tharoor also does not aspire to tell the truth. The work is not a fiction; rather it blends the political history of India with one of the most powerful myths the Mahabharata, which the nation adores. The novel has made it more effective and the tone of satire which gives an analysis of the situation. The Great Indian Novel, a fictional work that takes the basic story line of the Mahabharata, the epic of Hindu mythology, and recasts it in the context of the Indian Independence Movement.

The title of the novel was a translation of the great epic the Mahabharata and according to Tharoor, an appropriate paradigm in which to frame a retelling of Indian history. Tharoor not only makes reader laugh but also makes them aware of the various nuances of the political culture and history of their nation, which one quite often tends to overlook. The novels satire does not leave anyone untouched as he pokes fun at both the British as well as the Indians. Tharoor weaves the history of the twentieth century Indian politics with the Mahabharata with such dexterity and care that at the same time delights us and leaves us surprised at his wit.

In the novel, characters are parodied from the times of Indian struggle for independence. The conversational tone of the narrator Ved Vyas, the expression of Ganpathi, the scribe, makes it all the more a lucid narrative. Beneath the flow of satire but through the lines it demarcates the myth and reality. The characters of the novel can be co-related to the characters in the epic and almost all the characters are allegorical in nature. The famous political leaders of the Indian independence struggle.

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Ganga Datta, the epic hero, is more famous Bhishma because he took a vow to celibacy so that his father could marry the girl of his choice. Gandhi also advocated the celibacy and like Bhishma, had an influential role to play in the politics of India. The author presents Gandhi in a very humorous way and tells, A nation was rising, with a small, balding, semi-clad saint at its head. Gandhi has such an impact on the masses which no other leader would be able to have for generations to come.

Gandhi broke the law and showed the injustice of law. Gangaji represents Gandhi preached the path of truth. Tharoor tells that Gangaji believed in truth, it was his truth he believed in; and by extension the actions he undertook were founded on the same belief.

Dhritarashtra is the caricature of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was often termed as a blind idealist. Gandhari, the Grim his wife is none other than Kamala Nehru, who suffered silently due to many infidelities of her husband. Nehru, in The Discovery of India, opens up his heart on this matter, and confesses that: I was thought of the early years of our marriage when, with all my tremendous liking. I was almost forget her and denied her, in so many ways, that comradeship which was her due.

I was worked to utmost of my capacity and my mind was filled to the brim with the subject that engrossed me. I gave all my energy to that cause and had little left to spare Nehru Pandu suffered from a curse and could not indulge in sexual intercourse and therefore his wives had to take the help of a spell to beget sons. Tharoor points out Indira Gandhi to be a director and a ruthless political authoritarian. Morarji Desai, the fourth Prime Minister of India proved quite ineffective against the tyrannical dictates and policies of Indira Gandhi and Yudhishthir, the eldest son of Pandu, who is an honest, just and wise man represents him.

Then there is Mohammad A. Desai was a fanaic who hated Hindus and wanted a separate state for the Muslims. Another major political leader who finds mention in the novel is Jayaprakash Narayan who is termed as Jayaprakash Drona.

Desai was the socialist leader of India who fought for the farmers and tried to bring many social reforms. Vidur was one of the best bureaucrats that India could have and played a pivotal role in bringing the princely states under the canopy of one Indian state. The names of the political characters which have been presented from a different perspective have pun in them. Tharoor makes us laugh with his use of very anagrams of real places and the events. The march proved very crucial in the struggle for independence.

The name itself when reduced to D. Mokrasi forms the word Democracy. Draupadi Mokrasi, wife of five Pandavas. Democracy thrives on public opinion and the freedom of the citizens. It has a beauty on its own but due to exploitation by various political leaders, democracy in India has suffered too many setbacks and as pointed out by Tharoor, it loses it beauty during the dictatorial reign of Indira Gandhi.

Tharoor tells that democracies that turn authoritarian go a step beyond arrogance; they claim to represent a people subjugating themselves. The democracy sustains on elections but elections are a great Indira tamasha which are conducted at irregular interval and various levels amid much failure. Even the elections, the democratic process, Godmen and even Tajmahal are not spared. But she still has a husband back in her own time, one patently different from the wild and wonderful Scotsman.

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