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Sai Swaroopa’s Ten : The Lesser Known Battles of Kurukshetra by Ten Storytellers


Calling to participate in reimagining the epic

Dear Writer/Storyteller/Mahabharata enthusiast,

I am Saiswaroopa Iyer, author and your co-Mahabharata enthusiast

The jaw dropping scale of the epic battle of Kurukshetra has inspired retellings, plays and adaptations for centuries if not millennia. Images conjure up in our minds, of Bhishma’s invincible personality giving up arms because of Shikhandi, of the notorious half lie uttered by Yudhishtira, of Karna’s tragic struggle with his chariot wheel.

But do the wheels of your imagination turn at the mention of the young Yudhamanyu and Uttamoujas braving the whole Kuru might on a day just to guard Arjuna’s wheels in his mission to kill Jayadrata before Sunset? Of the ageing Lord Bhagadatta of Pragjyotisha stunning the best of Pandava warriors, riding upon his faithful elephant Supritika? Of the noble Bhurishrava’s glorious victories and domination till the last moment of his life? Of young Naga Prince Iravan’s withstanding of a cumulative attack by Gandharan regiment? Perhaps not.

The recent quantitative study on the war of Kurukshetra revealed interesting results. The epic war that drew in participation of 18 Akshauhinis of armies from all over ancient undivided Bharat, also highlights the achievements of such aforementioned heroes long forgotten today. These battles speak of untold courage, commitment and valour of many lesser known heroes, hardly given their due in many popular adaptations. As I read the 1500 pages of war chapters in the Mahabharata (Critical Editions translated by Dr. Bibek Debroy), my heart went out to these lesser known heroes whose valour deserves its long due honour and memory.

If you are someone who shares my passion for the epic text, if you hear the battle drums and trumpets in your mind, at the very thought of Kurukshetra, here is your opportunity to reimagine the valour of those immortal but lesser known heroes.

Weave your own passion and creativity along with the immortal world of Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa during this lockdown and tell your stories (of 4000 to 8000 words long) and also stand a chance to win some excited prizes.

Let your imagination free and delve into aspects like :

What were the thoughts of these warriors in the morning of their battle?

What prompted them to choose sides and throw their lot in this battle?

How did they view the feud between cousins blowing up into a war that claimed soldiers from all over ancient BharataVarsha?

What were the inner demons that they were grappling with ?

What were the dilemmas they were facing?

What were the events that panned out as they faced the opponent who could claim their lives in this epic battle?

How did this great battle pan out for each of them?

Pick your hero from the below list of battles and reimagine the epic from their eyes in about 4000 to 8000 words.

Pandava Warrior
Victories
Against
Ghatotkacha
4
Bhagadatta, Alambusha, Alambala and Alayudha
Satanika (Upa Pandava)
4
Jayatsena, Bhutakarma, Dushkarna, Chitrasena (All among 100 Kauravas)
Iravan (Arjuna’s son by Ulupi)
2
Against Vinda and Anuvinda and against 6 Gandhara Princes
Prativindhya (Upa Pandava)
2
Against Ashvatthama and Chitra (Son of Karna)
Shrutakarma (Upa Pandava)
1
Chitrasena (Son of Karna)
Uttamouja
1
Sushena (Son of Karna)
Sutasoma (Upa Pandava)
1
Vivimshati (one of the 100 kauravas)
Shikhandi
1
Kripacharya
Third Kuninda Prince
1
Shuka, Vrika of Kratha
Shrutasena (Upa Pandava)
1
Sudakshina of Kambhoja
Drishtaketu
1
Viradhanva of Trigarta
Brihadkshatra
1
Khsemadhriti (One of the 100 Kauravas)
Upa Pandavas all together
1
Prince of Bahlika Kingdom
Yudhamanyu
1
Duryodhana
Yuyutsu
1
Subahu
Kaurava Warrior
Victories
Against
Bhagadatta
4
Bhima, Ghatotkacha, Ruchiparva
Kritavarma
3
Yudhishtira, Shikhandi, Uttamoujas
Bhurishrava
2
Drishtaketu, Maniman
Shakuni
2
Sahadeva, Second Prince of Kuninda
Vrishasena
2
Drupada, Nakula
Alambusha
2
Iravan, UpaPandavas together
Supritika (Bhagadatta’s Elephant)
1
Against Dasharna’s elephant
Vinda-Anuvinda
1
Drishtadyumna
Ambastha
1
Drishtaketu (Chedi)
Jayadrata
1
All Pandavas warriors except Arjuna
Durmukha
1
Srutakarma (Upa Pandava)
Jayatsena
1
Srutakirti (Upa Pandava)

Send out your stories and stand to win exciting prizes. Ten best entries, curated by me, also would be published in an anthology! Grab your pens and make the most of this lock down.

I cannot wait to read your entries. Here are some  terms and conditions :

  • The entry should be original and not published anywhere previously
  • It should be about 4000-8000 words long
  • The starting scene of the story should start with the protagonist waking up on his big day in the battle.
  • The entries must be sent to namaste@indica.org.in under the subject line “Saiswaroopa’s Ten”- before 10th May 2020
  • Ten best entries would
    1. win a sponsorship to a writing bootcamp by the prestigious Himalayan Writing Retreat
    2. be published under the banner of Indic Academy as an anthology
  • The winners must be ready to take the Indic pledge which would be published in the anthology

Yours sincerely

Saiswaroopa


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