A review of Mrityunjaya: The Death Conqueror
Updated: Nov 15
October 20, 2020
Mrityunjaya: The Death Conqueror. This book written by Shivaji Sawant was published in 1989. The English translation was done by Professor P Lal and Nandini Nopany in the year 2008. The book consists of 698 pages in total and is a semi autobiography of a warrior from the Dwapara Yuga or the Mahabharat era that is ‘Karna’.
Cover of the English version of the book
(Source: Writers Workshop)
The book is written from the point of view of six people including the main man, his highness Karna, his biological mother, the Dowager Queen Kunti, his foster brother Shon, his best friend Prince Duryodhan, his wife Queen Vrushali, and the supreme presence, Lord Krishna himself.
Sawant has given an extended and clearer take on Karna and his life. This book is nothing like what the TV shows or school books have been telling us. To be more specific, this is more like an ‘adult version of Mahabharat’. And by adult, I mean by the emotions and events in Karna’s life. They are too deep and disturbing for those who’ve never read the original copy that is the ‘Ved Vyas Mahabharat’.
Of course one might question whether or not a side character among the main ones deserve such limelight. But once you read the book you’ll realize that he does. More than that, you’ll realize that Karna is not at all a side character.
The book gives you an insight as to how great and inspiring Karna actually is and how he’s been neglected by most of the television shows we’ve come across. Sawant’s Mrityunjaya does a phenomenal job in translating Karna’s life into words. Among the most important things Sawant has done is that he is unbiased and does justice to the authentic version.
Mr. Sawant has also touched upon the three sides of Karna, as how different people viewed him. As a hero, villain and an anti-hero. Among the many things the television series and certain opinion based books of Mahabharat has done is, show just one particular side as good or bad. Sawant successfully has described the good in bad and the bad in good with reasoning we all can relate to.
The detailing in this book is magnificent as Shivaji Sawant throughout the book has paid great attention to the details. He forces the readers to visualize most of the time about the things he beautifully describes. His attention to details, choice of words, way of describing important events and emotions are top notch. It ties the reader with the book.
The way Sawant has described some of the important events and most emotional moments are unforgettable and very moving. They really help him the most with his goal of making it seem like the whole Mahabharat is centered on Karna!
It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who reads books to kill time or someone really interested in India’s histories and mythologies or someone who just likes to read something beautifully written. Mrityunjaya: The Death Conqueror will live up to your expectations and is worth your time.
Edited by Shreya Gupta and Aditya Das