Shakuntala by Utkarsh Patel; More Contemporary Lesser Myth

Shakuntala by Utkarsh Patel; More Contemporary Lesser Myth

UPShakuntala, the woman wronged; is the story of sage Vishwamitra and apsara Menaka’s only daughter. In Mahabhrata, Vyasa depicted this character as a strong and determined one; just like her father. But later Kalidasa in his brilliant creation “AbhijnanaShakuntalam”; presented her as a lovelorn girl, just like her mother. So, which among the two is real Shakuntala? Author Utkarsh Patel, gave a proper justification of why both Vyasa and Kalidasa portrayed her in two different ways. And then he proceeded with his own Shakuntala.

Good Points about “Shakuntala, the woman wronged”

Utkarsh Patel being a professor of comparative mythology in Mumbai University; defines mythology as the primeval man’s query! So, when he decided to start his career as an author; it becomes a less surprising fact that he chooses to write Shakuntala, the woman wronged. I am absolutely amazed with the writer’s ability to build up this character Shakuntala. Since long, I was wondering how the daughter of such a great sage; who can create another universe with his power, can bow down to her own desires? There must be something more than love which compelled her to marry Dushyanta. Finally, I got my answer from Utkarsh. He brilliantly presented the mental state of Shakuntala and why she took such an important decision in the absence of her foster father.

Better and Best things of the Book

The writer’s interpretation of mythological stories is something to lookout for. The way he presented the story of Ahalya is simply outstanding. Though, most of us aware of her tragic fate in the hands of Sage Gautama; we rarely knew about her past and the stories related to her childhood! There was also a lesser known story of Madhavi, the daughter of King Yayati. The tragic story generates so many questions about the biased society. I must credit Utkarsh Patel for weaving those two tragic stories in the main story in such a connecting manner. All these stories put together created a perfect reflection of the society and the mindset of the people. In another part of the book; the writer also throws some light on the caste discrimination issue. Those arguments and counter arguments are a treat to read.

King Dushyant’s character is another scoring point of this book. He is a good King as well as a good human being; but both these personalities contradict each other. Towards the climax of the book; when Shakuntala confronts Dushyant; he saw it as a threat to his reputation. Shakuntala on the other hand solely fights with the mighty king only for her son. The court scene has been beautifully dramatized. It has a jaw dropping climax; even for the ones who know the story very well.

My Review

Utkarsh’s Shakuntala is not only a beautiful maiden from mythological tales. She is fearless, she is strong, she is brave and she is the HERO of this tale.

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