Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Krishna Ki Atmakatha - Manu Sharma

Any retelling of an Indian epic is a mammoth task. But given that it is surprising how many times it has actually been done. Perhaps that is the allure of an epic. You never get tired of telling and retelling the story.

Manu Sharma’s Krishna Ki Atmakatha is a political retelling of the Mahabharat it nine parts. I should not really call it a retelling of the Mahabharat. As is clear from the name, it is the autobiography of Krishna. But it tells us not the story of Krishna the God but of Krishna the politician. On the sprawling pages of this epic, Krishna transforms from a gifted adolescent to a master politician. His God-hood is reduced to clever propaganda.

There are some problems with this text. I felt the characterization to be a bit restrictive. We get to see only one part of Krishna’s character – that of a politician. But Krishna was a lot else. He was a lover, he was a friend and he was a King. We don’t really get to see all of these. And among the ministrations of Krishna and Chhandak, his most trusted man, other personas fade into the background. One does not get any insight into the characters of the Pandavas, with the possible exception of Bheem who is splendidly portrayed as a muscular brainless hunk.

However, I have only recently started reading things in Hindi and I have found the style to be distinctively different from the Western Novel. Perhaps it will take some time to sink in.


  1. iwant the link of book Krishna ki atmakatha please give me
    in advance a lot of thanks

  2. I want to buy the all parts of the book 'krishna ki atmakatha', hence pls give me the detail, how can i proceed for it.
    I have read two part of this and found really really interesting, i like the most
    pls help me in buying the books
    Prakash gor

  3. @ Prakash - I'm not really a bookstore owner hence can't really get those books for you. :) However, the only places I know where we can buy Hindi books are Sarvoday Sahitya bhandars and the Wheelers stores at Railway station. Hunt for it and good luck!

  4. http://www.flipkart.com/krishna-ki-atmakatha-manu-sharma/817315273x-zv23f7xu5b
    u can buy online all the eight books

  5. @ Preeti - Thanks for that information!

  6. Arvind Kumar SharmaAugust 13, 2009 4:47 AM

    I got to read part 3 and 4. The narration is good but there are lots of proofreading and editing errors - especially in part 3. I am afraid that same may be the case with other parts. If that is the case then it would not be a bad idea to revise the entire set and do away with editing and proofreading errors so that the book can, without any hitch, be categorised as a world class book.

    As pointed out by one of the commentators on this site, only the politician Krishna is visible and other facets of his character have taken a back seat. Also, the miraculous appearance of Chhandak on each and every crucial occasion does not appear convincing. It gives an impression that the author is trying to stretch his imagination too far to somehow bring his narration into realm of probability.

    One of the intriguing things about the books is that while the author has tried to demystify Krishna and present him and his deeds as merely worldly, he has still not attempted to demystify other incidents and presented them as miracles. Eg- Muchkund burning Kaalyavan with his stare,appearance of Draupadi and Dhrishtdhyumna from the fire of yagna, appearance of Yamuna as a human being, etc. If these incidences can be accepted by the author as miracles, then what compelled him to not to treat Krishna's deeds as miracles is not clear. The books do suffer on these accounts.

    Despite the shortcomings the books were interesting and the author has definitely put in a great effort to retell the story from a totally different perspective. Now it is the turn of publishers to put in some more effort and do away with the editing and proof reading errors.

    -Arvind Kumar Sharma, 142, MIG, Pocket 1, Phase II, Netaji Subhash Apartments, Sector 13, Dwarka, New Delhi - 78

  7. @Arvind -- Thanks for you detailed comments. I agree with most of what you say.

    Also, be careful and don't post your address like this on a public page. Protect your online privacy!

  8. Dear Sir,
    I have read three parts, Narad Ki Bhavishya Bani, Dwarka ki sthapna and Lakshagrah. The best literature in Hindi I have ever read after Jaishankar Prasad. The story is very fast and interesting. You cannot leave even a line without reading. Langauge is very simple and relates to that time also. It appears that picture has been painted at various occasions. Efforts of author presenting Lord Krishna as a man only has been quuite successful although Niyati is always helping Him. The auther could not leave superstitions at various places and it is also not possble. The facts presented by the author are really very interesting and it appears and the author has done comprehensive work to trace all these historical details in a real and sensible manner. I express may sincere regards to Respected shri Manu Sharma.
    RD Gupta
    New Delhi

  9. Krishna: A Journey through the Lands & Legends of Krishna By: Dev Prasad, Publisher: Jaico Publishing House (2010). Source: http://www.buybooksonline24x7.com/product_details.asp?pid=9788184951707

  10. Being not too familiar with the epic, I got lost. I plan to read
    at least the part mentioned.

    It must be pretty engaging, no doubt.

  11. I wonder if people on this page are familiar with Narendra Kohli. His retelling of Ram as well as of Mahabharat are gems of modern Indian Hindi literature. His Ram katha is called "Abhyudaya" and Mahabharat is "MahaSamar". The retelling is inspirational, insightful and is a joy to read for all ages and times.


  13. Please go to the publisher's site and buy online if you wish. http://www.prabhatbooks.com/author/manu-sharma.htm

  14. Reading again fourth time full volume

  15. Also read Droupdi ki Atmakatha,Karna and Drone ki Atmakatha

  16. Also read Droupdi ki Atmakatha,Karna and Drone ki Atmakatha