Monday, 7 April 2014

Our Epic Tradition and changing Times:

Dear all,

While the Epic Serial Mahabharata takes center stage as a Television serial in Star plus, the much retold story is now in its second digital version. While we the X generation grew up seeing Ramanand sagar’s version, the new version appeals to the generation Y with its larger imprint on technology and animation. The appeal to this generation  from the youthfulness of the characters, compared to their potbellied counterparts of the yesteryears.  While in our joint families we heard our grandmother’s versions of the epics, in todays nuclearized ‘’Macdonald Families” these digital versions appears as yet another burger with a dose of commercialism squeezed in between.

Mahabharata with its 36000 verses is believed as a fifth Veda not because of any religious significance, but due to the socio-psychological message that the epic intends to convey by differentiating  righteousness and non–righteousness (Read as Dharma and adharma ) and on the inevitable victory of truth in the end. Besides the characterization and categorization of the plot have been made to bring in the central theme of Bhagavad Gita    and its universal message, to be spilled  across the subcontinent as an everlasting living philosophy.

On an historical prospective the epic reveals upon the omnipresent power politics and family feuds in courtrooms leading to a war at kurushetra which was nothing but evolved from the fuelled ambitions of the then urban kingdoms in the sapta sindhu (Indo-Gangetic) region. While the nucleus of the epic was an historical narration of the events around 800-1000 BC, the oral tradition of storytelling had swelled the narration to that of a voluminous epic by the 4th Century AD. Further generations of its interpretations inculcated fables, parables, myths legends and deductive anthologies making it a grand Epic as it is read today. The belief that a single sage named Ved Vyas has written it entirely is a misnomer as the story is read as Vyasa Uvacha meaning Vyasa narrated where the Vyasa here is an agglomeration of a series of individuals christened as Vyasa or the learned one. (Please read ‘The great epic of India: Its Characters and origin “by Edward Washburn)

Today when we move away from oral tradition to a digital tradition of storytelling , hope the story remains as it is now and does not get into yet another silicon version. However for today’s generation, these episodes even though give enough food for thought even though for traditionalists like me, it is just a soup opera.

However kudos to the entire and cast for their best efforts. Praneet Bhat who plays Shakuni is the best of the lot.

Keep Seeing


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