Book Review: The Pregnant King

The Pregnant King
The Pregnant King

The Pregnant King is Indian fiction novel written by Devdutt Pattanaik. Devdutta Pattanaik is a marketing consultant and also refer himself as “mythologist “. I recently had a pleasure to listen to him in one of the conference in Mumbai and he really sold me the idea of his books which made me to read this one.

The book is based on the back drop of Mahabharata, an epic based on Hindu Mythology. Most of the characters in the book are similar to that in Mahabharata but the timelines and few characters are fictitious. It follows a story of Yuvanashva, a child less king of Vallabhi. To fulfill his desire for Son, he request holy Sages  for divine portion which would eventually make his wives pregnant and give him sons.  However, he accidentally drinks the portion himself and become a pregnant king.

The author manipulated the timelines to his comfort and made this incident on the backdrop of great war of Kurukshetra. The King eventually gave birth to the child from his thigh. He also fathered a child from one of his queens. Hence he experienced a rare opportunity to be both a father and a mother.  Throughout the book , the author exhibited and debated the concept of Dharma, Gender roles in the society and the thin line between parental duties and kingship.

Few of the conversation and debates in the book were absolute delight to read. Like the one between  Arjuna (The greatest Warrior in Mahabharata) and Yuvanashva. Yuvanashva, after giving birth to his son, started searching for spiritual answers to his situation. Have any man like him has experienced what its be like to be both a father and a mother.  When he got an opportunity to meet Arjuna (a Warrior and husbands of many wives), he wanted to know about his experience of being a eunuch for 1 year during his exile from Kingdom. After some initial hesitation, Arjuna opens up and tells how its being both a Man and a Woman at same time. The author’s interpretation of this conversation is wonderful and explains How a great warrior felt about Men, being a Woman. The author also made great interpretation of Shrikandi , another eunuch character of Mahabharata . Another interesting mention in the book is the temple of Vallabhi, where Ishwar Mahadev or Lord Mahadev becomes a God by the full moon and Goddess by the new Moon.

The three Men who Know What its Like to be A Woman
Lord Krishna, Arjuna and Shikandi The three Men who Know What its Like to be A Woman

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. Maybe, because I  enjoy reading about the sub-plots and sub characters of Mahabharata a lot. Devdutta’s first shot at fiction is really impressive. The concept of Dharma, Kama and Yama is well encrypted in the book.

You Might Also Like to Read 

Book Review: Sita, An Illustrated

Retelling of Ramayana

Book Review : Jaya; An Illustrated

Retelling of the Mahabharata

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Pregnant King

  1. They say whatever is in Mahabharata is in this world and whatever is not in Mahabharata is not in this world. So Devdutt has taken some of the things found in the epic and woven a story around it. Your review makes the book very interesting and worth reading…

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  2. […] Also the book has a small summary of Gita,  which is narrated by Lord Krishna to mighty warrior Arjuna. Also the book tells why Karna is the most tragic hero in the history, or how Shadeva got all the knowledge of the world. In the story of Devas, Asuras, Gods and Demons, Devdutt protected the human aspect of the story. There are also visible illustration in the book, similar to Myth= Mythya by same author and folk reference like Devdutt’s Pregnant King. […]

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