The greatest story ever retold

Shashi Tharoor has been re-assessing the Mahabharata, which he used as the foundation for his The Great Indian Novel:

“Whenever a particular social or political message was sought to be imparted to Indians at large, it was simply inserted into a retelling of the Mahabharata.”

In the next part of his column, he writes:

“Which brings me to my point: the Mahabharata is what you make of it. Its relevance to today’s India is the relevance that today’s Indians want to see in it. After all, the epic has, throughout the ages, been the object of adaptation, interpolation, reinterpretation and expurgation by a number of retellers, each seeking to reflect what he saw as relevant to his time. Its contemporary retellings — whether B.R. Chopra’s soap operatic version on television or mine in satirical fiction — merely confirm the Mahabharata’s traditional status as the repository of the national myth.”

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