Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cuckold - Kiran Nagarkar

Some people create history,but some people remain as catalyst that partially alters the course of history..But at the same time there won't be any great heroic tales about them to confer..The chief protagonist in this novel is a person about whom we know nothing but that the fact that he was born,married and died..His only claim to fame was that he was betrothed to a princess who is most remembered and quoted woman in Indian History..

Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia
The Rajput warriors learn warfare in the childhood itself..The Rajput chivalry never hesitate to go to any levels in order to protect their power,pride and honour..War is their dharma..It is about power and supremacy..But winning or losing is entirely God's business.In that case,what if the conflict is with the God ?? One secret rivalry is with the God and other is against his own brothers for the throne..In such conundrums, the heir apparent of Mewar,his highness Maharaj Kumar would be able to win these battles ? This is the plot of the novel 'Cuckold ' written by Kiran Nagarkar..This novel has won the prestigious Kendra Sahitya Academy award for the year 2001.This is the story about Bhoja raj (Maharaj Kumar) and his wife Meera,the popular saint in India..The story has set in early 16th century and it depicts the Mewar Rajput traditions and life style..

A kingship survives on institutions,and there's no greater institution than tradition.

The bed time stories of our children are about these larger-than life monarchs and warriors from the past. Our arteries and veins are clogged with them.Some times I think we have no present,only past.

The options of doubt and fear and retreat are unthinkable because these areas in our minds have been sealed off.In truth,they are no options at all.There is no discrimination or willingness in our valour.It is blind,headlong  and unflinching because we don't know any other way of reaching in a confrontation.

If memory serves me right,I must be the first general in the history of Mewar not to have rated a Veer Vijay after leading out troops to victory.

The protagonist Maharaj Kumar,the first son of Rana Sanga is the narrator.After he gets married to the Princess of Merta,drastic changes takes place in his life..On the first night of their wedding,she reveals that she's already betrothed to someone else .But later he learns that she is in love with Lord Krishna and waits for her to transform..But as the time passes by,proving all his wait in vain,she becomes  more and more indulgent in Krishna's love.Her affair albeit with a God was a scandal. She was constantly criticized and persecuted for it in the place.And the whole kingdom calls the Maharaj Kumar a Cuckold..In such situation,he has to choose either of the two choices,to leave his wife or to forget about ascending the Chittor throne.Besides his step mother Rani Karmavathi's son Vikramaditya is busy in his wicked plans to get him out of the way..Rana Sanga keeps himelf neutral in this matter..On the other hand Maharaj Kumar's guerrilla technics in the warfare against Gujarat armies was considered as a great insult to Rajputs..The death of his cousin Rajendra in the hands of his friend Prince Bahadur turned the Mewarites against him..How he overcome such difficult circumstances is the remaining part of the story..

Why did the Rajput code of honour and chivalry always devolve upon the sacrifice of their own lives ?

It was  delirious raving,a mad outpouring of passion and plaint,the most abject grovelling and fits of temper and tantrums.Haughty rejections,passages of fierce and naked eroticism,begging and pleading with him to come and visit her,take her away once and for all from  the rest of man kind,hold her in his arms,tightly,giddily till every bone in her body was broken.

Deception,diplomacy,intrigue,prestidigitation,machination,all these and many small and great things,the Flautist had taught me,were the tricks of a king's dharma and trade.But where had I inherited this wanton cruelty from ? I remembered then how the great warrior Arjun and his mentor,The Falutist-mine too till a few years ago-had burnt the whole of the Khandava forest and all its inhabitants without cause or provocation.It was one of the strangest episodes in the Mahabharatha,one that I could not understand ,nor make sense of,try as I might.Perhaps that is the point the great epic is trying to make,that life is inexplicable,nor does it pass the test of reason ; that some if not much of it,is meaningless.No amount of culture and civilization can subdue or hide the wanton violence in man.

You can't please everybody,a king certainly can't Father had said to me when I was a child.He had forgotten to mention the other half of the preposition.You can displease everybody and get some peace of mind for yourself.The whole court,including the queen was at liberty to keep guessing who father had in mind as his successor while the princes could keep themselves busy scheming and intriguing against each other and with some luck kill each other off.

Maharaj Kumar's passionate love for the little saint (Meera) is well depicted in the story.He always compares himself with Lord Krishna..Being introvert he shares his secrets with river Gambhiree..By nature he seems  distinctive from Rajputs and his methods and methodology were always subjected to disgrace..The depiction of  Meera is far away from our imagination..Her childish behaviour and rivalry towards Sugandha (Maharaj Kumar's second wife) were disproportionate to her saintly nature..In this novel we can find,some great depictions of few great Rajput warriors like Rana Kumbh,Rana Sanga etc..It introduced many unique and distinctive roles like Vikramaditya,Rani Karmavathy,Leelavathi,Kausalya,Bruhannada,Lakshman Sinha Ji,Adinatha Ji etc..It is a huge volume as the novel is based on history.The book vividly discussed the 15th century social,economical,religious and political conditions..No doubt it's a patient read but a must read for history lovers.
Pages :609
Price  :Rs.499/-


Indrani said...

A different theme, sounds interesting.

Athenas Take said...

I have always loved the stories about kings and queens and this one sounds interesting and different.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@Indrani,Thank you dear..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Athenas Take,
If so,you must read it for sure :-) Thank you :-)

Bushra Muzaffar said...

This is a voluminous book. Sounds interesting though.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Thank you Bushra :-)

Amrita Sabat said...

Hi! I've tagged U here: for PASS activity. Please do write ur PASS entry asap and accept my tag there! Nice book review...will plan to read this one sumtym later though! :)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Amrita Sabat,
Thank you so much for the tag Amritha..:-)

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Here is wishing you Merry Christmas and a Happy & Joyous New Year !

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Thank you so much RK Sir & Wish you the same :-)

Neha Agarwal said...

Discovering Kiran Nagarkar was like being handed the privilege of witnessing a superhero in action. Cuckold was the first book I read of his and I can safely say that I have more than just satisfied.
Nagarkar is a master storyteller. This book, set in the 1500s, is an amusing and extremely gripping narration of the kind of society and atmosphere that prevailed back in the 16th century. The prose is rich and though provoking and so colorful that you feel like you can almost smell the aromas of early Mewar and glimpse the sights of the kingdom in technicolor. The issues raised and the political and social upheavals mentionedd make it obvious that the writer has given a lot of thought and research into the making of this book which is another highly appreciable quality. The book, at over 600 pages long, leaves you wishing for more and god help you if you even think of putting it down! This book consumes and laves your thirst. Kiran Nagarkar ahs certainly raised the bar and I would suspect for many that reading this one book will not be enough. I have become an ardent Nagarkar fan after reading this one!