Looking back, moving on - Giripad Dev Choudhury

I have recently written a version of the Mahabharata for young adults in Assamese, Bedabyax Mahabharat. In the course of my research for this book, I read and reread various Mahabharatas in 2011. I had read Rajagopal Acharya’s Mahabharata while in college. This time I enjoyed reading it once again immensely – it is an amazing take on the epic, written on modern lines about the sciences and technologies used in the tale. It does not read like a religious text at all, but like a novel. I have also read the Bengali and Assamese versions of the epic and found it fascinating that certain things dealt with in it are still relevant today. The political machinations, for instance, and the lies and deviousness associated with statecraft have remained the same. Women are still repressed today as they were then, and they are still as strong and incisive – as Gandhari was in cursing Krishna for failing to do what was in his power to do, namely stop the war.

In 2012, I wish to finish reading a set of 18 Sanskrit texts in English and Bengali that I have procured. I am aging now and I wish to read only this kind of books. Of these 18 volumes, I have finished reading the Panchatantra. The moral tales of those days are applicable even today. The story of the foolishness of the learned men who gave life to a tiger’s skeleton and of the practical knowledge of the foolish man who climbed a tree to save his life is a particular favourite of mine. Now I intend to read the rest of the volumes which include the Vedas, the kavyas (like Abhigyan Shakuntalam), the Harshacharita and so on. I also want to write a few books on them myself.

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