Mahabharata – A story for the ages
I have been watching the new Mahabharat TV series for quite a few months now, and I have been impressed by the production quality of it. The special effects are nothing like what the Indian TV audiences have been accustomed to. Gone are the fire cracker arrows, replaced by some really cool CGI. Take a look at a sample below:
They have a pretty cool background score too!
However, this post is not a promo for the TV show. While I was watching the show, many a times I was forced to question my own understanding/perception of the story. There were a many instances on the TV show , where it seemed to deviate from what I knew of Mahabharata. I jokingly told my father that this was Star TV Mahabharata and not Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata. (Hell, there is even a facebook page for the inaccuracies in the TV show)
But before I could pronounce that the TV series is a blasphemy, I was hit by the thought that we could all be very well be wrong too about Mahabharat( Note: doesn’t mean that Star TV is correct either).
This is a story which has been passed on through the ages. And we all know what happens when stories are handed over from one person to another. Mis-interpretation and misrepresentation are common dangers in such scenario. Which is well illustrated by this old joke:
The problem of interpretation is very real. Human interpretation is quite random. As in the above example, we could either start imagining things which are not there, taking the meaning too far. Or we could give a statement a certain meaning simply because in its original form , the sentence would not make sense. For example, if I went back in time to the 1800s and said to a commoner on the street ” The aviation industry will be hit with a fuel crisis two centuries from now”, apart from thinking that I am mad, the commoner may think that my statement may have something to do with birds and their food.
Similarly , whatever the original Mahabharata story said, our interpretations probably distorted it across the 6 millennia. Now for those who are worried about the consequences of the currently known Mahabharata probably being wrong I say…