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Mahabharata in Assamese prose


GUWAHATI, July 31 - A 71-year-old anaesthetist has completed the onerous job of rendering the original Mahabharata epic penned by Maharishi Ved Vyas in Sanskrit verse, into Assamese prose. For the past about ten years, he laboured continuously and meticulously to accomplish this feat. The dream of this senior citizen is on the verge of being translated into reality. The product of his labour has been named Sampurna Asomiya Gadya Mahabharat. It will come up in ten volumes, each containing around 500 pages.

Colonel Dr DM Bujor Barua, a retired anaesthetist of the Indian Army Medical Corps and presently a resident of the Silpukhuri PD Chaliha Road, has spent around Rs 5.5 lakh of his hard earned money to fructify this dream of his. He is planning to publish the voluminous book in August-September this year.

The size of the book can be surmised with the information that it contains 5,320 printed pages and 1800 chapters. Col Dr Bujor Barua said in addition to the story of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the book contains chapters on the Nag dynasty, Shakuntala-Dushyant, Savitri-Satyavan, Srimadbhagawata Gita and even the Ramayana in brief, in keeping with the original Mahabharata.

Col Dr Bujor Barua said that he started working on the project in May 2005 and completed the translation in October 2010. He relied on the version of the Sanskrit Mahabharata published by the Gorakhpur Geeta Press for the project.

It needs mention here that Col Dr Bujor Barua studied Sanskrit at the Pragjyotishpur Darshan Satuspathi, Gandhibasti in the early 1960s. He studied the epic in Sanaskrit for several years while serving in the military hospitals of the country and because of his religious interest, he has undertaken this onerous job.

C Rajagopalachari in the preface to his famous Mahabharata Retold has said, �It is not an exaggeration to say that the persons and incidents portrayed in the great literature of a people influence national character no less potently than the actual heroes and events enshrined in its history. It may be claimed that the former play an even more important part in the formation of ideals, which give to character its impulse of growth. In the moving history of our land, from time immemorial great minds have been formed and nourished and touched to heroic deeds by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.�

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (e-edition), the Mahabharata is an important source of information on the development of Hinduism between 400 bce (Before the Common/Current/Christian Era or Before Christ � BC) and 200 ce (Common Era or anno Domini, which means in the year of our Lord � AD) and is regarded by the Hindus, together with the Ramayana, as a text about dharma (Hindu moral law) and a history (itihasa).

It further states that appearing in its present form about 400 ce, the Mahabharata consists of a mass of mythological and didactic material arranged around a central heroic narrative that tells of the struggle for sovereignty between two groups of cousins, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Its poem is made up of almost 100,000 couplets � about seven times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined � divided into 18 parvans, or sections, plus a supplement titled Harivamsha (�Genealogy of the God Hari� i.e., of Vishnu).

The encyclopaedia maintains that although it is unlikely that any single person wrote its poem, its authorship is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyasa, who appears in the work as the grandfather of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The date and even the historical occurrence of the war that is the central event of the Mahabharata are much debated.

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