Book Review : THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS - THE FEMINIST APPROACH
Updated: Aug 2
When we talk about Mahabharata, what is the first thing that comes to our mind that caused it? Draupadi, isn’t it? Well ! this book can really change the way we have been looking at one of the main protagonists of Mahabharata - Draupadi. Mahabharata has always been narrated from Krishna’s point of view or what we rather saw in the TV series - “Samaya” (time). No one thought it from Draupadi’s perspective. However, after years of every Indian knowing Mahabharata as it was fed to us, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni dares to think it from a different angle. A bold move indeed but it could make many misogynists or rather the followers of patriarchy a little uncomfortable.
Instead of throwing the spotlight on the Pandavas or for that matter Krishna himself, the author writes the book in first person account of Draupadi who like any other girl has some dreams about her future and family she is going to make ahead in her life.She is shown at par with her twin brother. She is not portrayed as a cliched girl who gives into her fate and pressure of the society but rather someone who is born ahead of her time. She questions anything she finds wrong, she desires for things that are vices according to the patriarchal society she is living in, but she never gives up. Loving Karna for he is and marrying Arjuna for what was required of her and still secretly wishing for what her heart desired is one of the bold moves the author has taken.
The title of the book alludes to the dream house of Draupadi which somehow is the main reason behind the great war of Mahabharata. Her mistake? Wanting what she desired.
Draupadi’s character is shown as bold, intellectual and an upfront one. Unaffected by anyone’s opinion, she stands for the things she likes till the end of her life. Nevertheless, she also fulfills the duties of a wife, a mother and a daughter in law. However, things fall apart in her life as it was destined to be. Her life is metaphorically compared to that of fire, “you need it but you can burn yourself from it”.
The ways the author has touched the new horizons in a story well known to all, is commendable. Also, the advantages or the benefits the author has taken to change the bits of the story to change the life of the protagonist is also acceptable because as they say, it’s a “MYTH-O LOGY”.
Finally, I would say that this book is a must read for all the readers who are open to take the changes on things that are already engraved in us. For all the open-minded readers, it is definitely a book that does justice !
You can read this book Here.