Few literary landscapes, anywhere in the world, are as complex and challenging as the Mahabharata. It is for India a foundational text and has framed what it means to be Indian for over two millennia.
And yet, the truly extraordinary virtue of the Mahabharata is that in the hands of an edgy young graphic novelist, the explosion of themes and ideas contained within the epic effortlessly takes on a new contemporary urgency.
Amruta Patil – celebrated author of graphic novels Kari (2008), Adi Parva (2012) and now Sauptik – captivated Algebra members with a revisionist telling of the story of Ashwatthama – an anti-hero; a roiling, insecure, man who murdered the sleeping children of the Pandavas; a man whose life was, in some sense, defined by his need for validation by his iconic father, Dronacharya.
Over drinks, a highly-engaged gathering of members talked ethics and morality, artistic liberty and integrity of narratives, and why jealousy, in the words of Amruta, “is the least heroic of human failings.”
Members took the opportunity to buy one of six limited edition signed prints of Amruta’s stunning original artwork. Others took the opportunity to pick up copies of Sauptik and Adi Parva and have them signed by the author. If you haven’t yet encountered Amruta’s work, start by ordering Sauptik here.
Algebra, the Arts & Ideas Club brings together a fellowship of people who believe great cities are built not just on infrastructure but a life of the mind; who understand robust and liberal societies need the oxygen of great conversation and nuanced thinking.
At a time when we are increasingly surrounded by rage and noise, Algebra is a live and continuous space for people to come together for a genuine exchange of ideas and exposure to issues; where new seeds could be sparked, fresh perspectives formed, and intelligent connections made.
Algebra – the Arts and Ideas Club is designed to host almost 35 engagements over the year with topline thinkers and practitioners from almost every discipline that impacts human affairs: politics, economy, environment, spirituality, cinema, medicine, science, technology, music, media, literature, the arts, sports, people’s movements, et al.