Thursday, 10 November 2016

Ashwamedha : The Game of Power

Modern Tale of Rapacity & Deception


Title: Ashwamedha : The Game of Power
AuthorAparna Sinha  

Publishers:  Srishti Publishers
Price: INR.195
Goodreads Rating: 3/5


I'd read about " Ashwamedha Yajna " in several historical/mythological fiction and that's what made me warrant the request of reviewing this book. 

The Ashvamedha is a horse sacrifice ritual followed by the Saruta tradition of Vedic religion .It was used by ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty: a horse accompanied by the king's warriors would be released to wander for a period of one year. In the territory traversed by the horse, any rival could dispute the king's authority by challenging the warriors accompanying it. After one year, if no enemy had managed to kill or capture the horse, the animal would be guided back to the king's capital. It would be then sacrificed, and the king would be declared as an undisputed sovereign.
Even the King Yudhistra performed the Ashwamedha Yajna, the horse was released following Arjuna as the main protector. Arjuna successfully protected the horse as it passes through Trigarta, Pragjothisha and Sindu but things get complicated in the Manaloorapura. The king of Manaloorapura, Babruvahana,  was the son of  Arjuna and Chitrangade as per Adiparva.  Babruvahana knows about his mighty father and greeted Arjuna with respect and devotion. He didn't  stop the horse, tie it up and wage a war with the visitors but it didn't  please Arjuna. 'If I had come without weapons, greeting me this way is alright. As I have come fully armed, it is not kshatriya dharma to greet me in a peaceful manner.'
Hearing this rebuke, Babruvahana's step mother, Uloopi, a Nagakanya and another wife of Arjuna, breaks through the earth and addresses her crestfallen stepson. 'Son, fight with Arjuna, he will be happy if you fight him!'  So, Babruvahana tied up the horse and charged on his father. Arjuna was pleased with his son's skills and retaliated casually. Suddenly Babhruvahana aims an arrow directly at Arjuna's heart and finds its mark. Arjuna struck very hard faints and falls! Babhruvahana distraught and tired, also fainted. Chitrangade hears of this and runs to the war front. She blames Uloopi, 'All this happened because of you!'
Meanwhile, Babhruvahana came out from his stupor and saw his mother next to the very still, fallen Arjuna, crying her heart out. He became very sad and was worried, thinking that if Arjuna died, it was better he also dies, sitting next to his father  waiting for death (Prayopravesha) to come to him! Uloopi thought of  sanjeevini, a precious stone capable of reviving;  it falls into her hand. She gives it to Babruvahana and told him, 'Place this on the heart of your father.  You have not killed him, he will revive. He wanted to see how brave you are! The reason why, I encouraged you to fight'. Arjuna is revived by the stone and he gets up. Uloopi comforts  Arjuna with  'You have now atoned the sin of killing Bheeshma, if not you would have faced misfortune.' 

So, the " Ashwamedha Yajna " have strings of  some amazing stories of the mythological / ancient world but Aparna Sinha's  Ashwamedha : The Game of Power is a modern thriller revolving around the world of politics and global terrorism in nexus with a modern disease that comes into the lime light after John Nash received the Nobel prize. A young enthusiastic mind, full of vigor stepped into the world of civil servants but as expected, found himself transferred numerous times in few years because of having the proclivity towards  honesty.However, a caught in a predicament, he resigned from his job of a civil servant and joined the Nationalistic Party, which aims for a corruption free India. Unlike other political workers, Ashwin quickly walks up in the hierarchy of leadership and becomes the president of the Party and Prime Minister-Hopeful of India. But he wasn't aware of, is about an alter ego that laid a stimulated environment to  controls him. And then that faceless enemy flagged with the extinction level threat to the modern world.
Initially, I find  Ashwamedha  running with a speed of a snail but the pace turned into that of  'Ashwa', horse , once I crossed half of the book and kept me hooked till the very end. Nevertheless, apart from the plot, I believe, the book lacks in the research about the supporting milieu in the plot. Apart from the main plot, details like that of Security agencies and the guns are missing from the story . After wrapping the book, I felt as if I'd read an abridged version of a 900-page tome 'cause this plot needs to be addressed with ample search which surely isn't done in the book.

Ashwamedha : The Game of Power   is available at following Online Store


This is Not a Paid Review ! I received this Book as a Review Copy from Author & The Opinions expressed in the review are my own , and remain unbiased and uninfluenced . "

                                                                            - Rahul Rai Khatri