Festive Reads

This navaratri read the stories that present inspirational female perspective that we never knew about

By Author   |   Published: 24th Sep 2017   12:07 am Updated: 24th Sep 2017   12:11 am
books

Lanka’s Princess


Author: Kavita Kanè
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Pages: 280
Price: Rs 169

Surpanakha, Ravan’s infamous sister-ugly and untamed, brutal and brazen. This is how she is commonly perceived. One whose nose was sliced off by an angry Lakshman and the one who started a war but was she really just perpetrator of war? Or was she a victim? Was she Lanka’s princess? Or was she the reason for its destruction

Surpanakha, meaning the woman as hard as nails was born as Meenakshi-the one with beautiful, fish-shaped eyes. Growing up in the shadows of her brothers, who were destined to win wars, fame and prestige, she instead charts up a path filled with misery and revenge.

Accused of manipulating events between Ram and Ravan, which culminated in a bloody war and annihilation of her family, Surpanakha is often the most misunderstood character in the Ramayana. Kavita Kané ‘s Lanka’s Princess tells the story from the vantage of this woman more hated than hateful…


Shakti: The Divine Feminine


booksAuthor: Anuja Chandramouli
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Pages: 288
Price: Rs 222

She is the Mother Goddess, Mahamaya-the enchantress, the supreme consciousness, the pure source from which all creation emerges and to whom all must eventually return. As Usas, the enchanting goddess of the dawn, she is loved passionately and hated fiercely, leading to a horrific tragedy. As Durga, the invincible warrior, she defeats the savage Mahishasura, whom none of the male gods could vanquish. As Kali, the fearsome dark goddess, she delights in chaos. Yet she is also Shakti, beloved of all, who, when united with Shiva, restores balance to the universe.

In this captivating narrative, explore the contrasting facets of the sacred feminine; experience her awesome power, forged on the flames of love and hate; and watch her teach the male-dominated pantheon a lesson in compassion. Witty, engaging and thought-provoking, Shakti: The Feminine Divine will force readers to re-evaluate everything they know about the gods and goddesses and inspire all to embrace the Shakti within.


Shakuntala


booksAuthor: Utkarsh Patel
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Pages: 296
Price: Rs 211

I am Shakuntala and I am not someone who suffers in silence and sheds tears in isolation. I am like the snake that opens up its hood and…strikes the fear of life and god…

The story of Shakuntala is well known her upbringing in the ashram, her meeting with Dushyant, their marriage and subsequent separation due to a curse and their final joyous reunion. What is not so well known, however, is that the gentle, lovelorn Shakuntala immortalized by Kalidasa is very different from the original Shakuntala of the Mahabharata a strong, fiery woman who stood up for her rights when she was spurned by her beloved.

In this thoughtful retelling of the story of Shakuntala, Utkarsh Patel brings to the fore the original heroine, the bold and beautiful daughter of Menaka and Vishwamitra who fights to get herself and her son the recognition they deserve. She does not surrender to anyone, not even the king of Hastinapur. Retold to suit the modern day context, Shakuntala: the woman wronged is a must read to understand one of the most powerful yet underrated female characters of the Mahabharata.