By Anand Neelakantan

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When one conquered a country, it was prudent to finish off all the males and take the women. It prevented misadventures and future wars of revenge. Bhishma could almost hear his father’s voice prompting him to thrust his sword through the tiny heart. Slowly, very slowly, Bhishma put the boy down. He immediately collapsed onto the floor, unable to stand on his hurt leg. ” Bhishma asked Gandhari. “He is Shakuni, Prince of Gandhara. I know you will kill him. That is the dharma of the Kshatriya, is it not?

Perhaps Ajaya is my belated answer to the villager, who stumped me with his simple question on the humid afternoon when the procession honouring Suyodhana was marching through the green paddy fields of Poruvazhy: If our Lord Duryodhana was an evil man, why did great men like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, and the entire army of Krishna, fight the war on his side? SELECT CAST OF CHARACTERS Bhishma: Grand Regent of the Kuru clan and granduncle to both the Pandavas and Kauravas. Also known as Gangadatta Devavrata.

Shakuni looked down at his nephew and his face relaxed as he loosened his grip. “Kunti may attend the sabha,” the Grand Regent pronounced to a smattering of applause. Shakuni stood up to his full, imperious height. “Your Excellency, then what about my sister, Gandhari? ” Bhishma stared at him for a long time and finally said, “Why not? It is a positive step forward. ” Shakuni sat down, winking at Suyodhana, as the sage Vyasa walked away shaking his head. Suyodhana still rued that day. Now Gandhari no longer had time for her children, preoccupied as she was with countering Kunti’s moves.

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Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan
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