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By Anand Neelakantan

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Excessive above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, home of the gods. nonetheless above is Vaikuntha, heaven, homestead of God.

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He bent down painfully and picked it up. It was a wooden cart with a broken wheel – a little boy’s toy. A smear of blood had dried on its broken side. With a sigh, the General started climbing up. The steps groaned in protest. As if on cue, the sobbing stopped. The long verandah ran a considerable distance, vanishing into shadow. It started snowing and the white flakes fell on the wooden benches placed along the corridor, forming strange shapes. The General walked slowly, careful not to step on the dead soldiers.

It made me rush home to revisit the Mahabharata, an epic that has inspired countless writers over the centuries. Once I started viewing the Kaurava Prince through the eyes of the villagers of Poruvazhy, a different picture of Duryodhana began to emerge – far removed from the scheming, roaring, arrogant villain of popular television serials and traditional retellings. Instead, here was a brutally honest Prince, brave and self-willed, willing to fight for what he believed in. Duryodhana never believed his Pandava cousins to be of divine origin; and to modern minds, their outlandish claim now sounds chillingly similar to present-day political propaganda used to fool a gullible public.

This is Anand’s second book and follows the outstanding success of his national #1 bestseller, ASURA Tale Of The Vanquished (Platinum Press 2012). AJAYA Book II, Rise Of Kali, is due for release later in 2014. in CONTENTS Author’s Note Select Cast of Characters Genealogy Prelude ~ GANDHARA 1 PRINCE OF THE BLOOD 2 THE TEACHER COMES 3 CHILD OF THE FOREST 4 THE CHARIOTEER’S SON 5 MAVERICK BRAHMIN 6 CHALLENGE OF THE EUNUCH 7 THE LESSON 8 RAMA WITH THE PLOUGH 9 THE BEAST 10 NAGAS 11 IN THE SHADOWS 12 THE TRIAL 13 DHARMAVEERA 14 GURUDAKSHINA 15 DHARMA 16 RETURN OF THE SUTA 17 WANTED 18 GRADUATION 19 REVENGE OF A BRAHMIN 20 HOUSE OF LAC 21 SWAYAMVARA 22 MARRIAGE 23 MARCH OF CIVILIZATION 24 A CITY CURSED 25 RAJASUYA 26 THE FALL 27 ROLL OF THE DICE Short Notes Glossary Acknowledgements AUTHOR’S NOTE WHY WRITE ABOUT DURYODHANA?

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Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan

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