Skip to main content

Book Review: Mandodari (Queen of Lanka) by Manini J. Anandani

As soon as you see the title ‘Mandodari’, your subconscious may nudge you to Google who is Mandodari. Well, that’s quite okay with people who don’t get much into the Indian mythology, even the knowers will have difficult time in coming to terms with Mandodari. Is she a lesser-known personality from the epic Ramayana? Most probably, yes.


Since the school time, we have come across various versions of Ramayana in the form of movies, documentary, books, comics, and so on. And there you certainly find monotony – Rama is the hero of Ramayana. Well, what about villains, other cast of characters and women other than Sita. They too are covered but not in that impressive intensity. You need to rediscover and rethink about this timeless epic tale from a different point of view. A story can have various points of views and there can be differed narrations.

Coming to the other side of the Ramayana, you will find Ravana, his kingdom Lanka, his brothers, his sons, his wives and concubines in antapura, and there is this voice of Mandodari which you cannot ignore. Before marriage she was a princess of Mayarastra kingdom in Bhartavarsh. After marriage Mandodari was the first and favourite wife of Ravana, also known as the queen of Lanka.

To many this book may sound as another retelling of the Ramayana, well in reality Mandodari by Manini J. Anandani, a mythological fiction, is a poignant story of Ravana’s rise and fall in the presence of Mandodari.

As we all know Rama, we are also aware of Ravana. He was a Parambhakta of Shiva and because of that reason he bore great powers within himself. He gained expertise in military weapons and medicine and in many more fields. Other than all virtues and traits, he was way too ambitious and he proved this by discovering some medicinal herbs that he incised beneath his naval in order to become immortal. Post this operation, Mandodari noticed drastic changes in Dashaanan, another name of Ravana.

Initially the couple leads a good and meaningful life, all the time Mandodari thinks about love for his husband Dashaanan. But soon she gets her first shock when Ravana for the sake of political advancement begins marrying other women. As his territory increases, antapura sees the rise in female members. Dashaanan’s weakness for women worries Mandodari and soon it comes that, through various circumstances, Ravana’s kingdom will fall because of a woman.

She being a wife to an evil husband and daughter-in-law of the Rakshas dynasty consistently bears mental agony, sufferings, pain throughout the novel. Her ability to cope up with the circumstances bravely makes her character stand tall and strong in an otherwise notorious Lanka. Ravana’s arrogance and Mandodari’s pacifism weave a perfect tapestry of myth and imagination.

Ravana gets better treatment in the novel, it may sound offbeat to regular Ramayan fans, it wasn’t deliberately done but a necessity to perfect the character of Mandodari, as her one strict and salient characteristic was that she was in deep love with Ravana. Well, that's quite obvious for a wife devoted to her husband.

The story is not only about Mandodari and her husband. Well, there is a shocking mystery with reference to Sita. Whose reincarnation was she? Was she a daughter of Ravana and Mandodari? If so then why Ravana abducted her and longed to marry her. Why did he fail in Sita’s Swayambar?

With so many questions to be found inside this book, definitely this is an amazing book for mythological lovers. Laced with beautiful language and riveting narrative, Mandodari by Manini is a classic masterpiece. Here you get the whole Ramayana but from a different perspective i.e. Lanka.

Love reading mythological re-telling, well read about Draupadi's tale of love- https://goo.gl/VgK9WV

Comments

  1. Excellently written,rarely known facts!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very captivating...finished it in two days. There is a twist in Chapter 14, I didn't know that there are versions of Ramayana where Sita is Mandodari's daughter. I Googled and came across so many versions that said so.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Poem Summary: Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Poem by Rabindranath Tagore: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. Short Summary: This poem is written by Rabindranath Tagore during pre-independence days, when India was a colony of the British. The underlying theme of the poem is absolute freedom; the poet wants the citizens of his country to be living in a free state. According to the poem, we see that the poet is expressing his views there should be a country, like where people live without any sort of fear and with pure dignity…they should

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming. This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella. The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation fo

Character Sketch of Binya from ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a popular children’s story. It features Binya as the main character, though there are other important characters as well, but the story revolves around Binya and her little beautiful umbrella. The story is widely popular among children, thus it has also been included in the schools’ syllabus all across the country. Since it is often taught in the school, thus the character sketch of Binya is often demanded by students from year to year. Character Sketch of Binya from The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond Binya is the main character of the novel ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond. Her full name is Binyadevi. As in the hills or anywhere in India it is a kind of trend to call children with their short nicknames. Binya’s elder brother’s name is Bijju, whereas his real name is Vijay. Binya aged eleven is a hilly girl. She lives with her small family in the hills of Garhwal. Her father died when she was two years of age. For sustenance, the