5 Best Books is an interesting weekly meme hosted by Cassandra at indiereaderhouston.com. Every week we have to list our five favourites on a particular topic. This week the topic is Unconventional Heroes.
Here are my five:
Duryodhan in Urubhangam: In common parlance, Duryodhan is the villain of the Mahabharat. The evil usurper who cheated his cousins out of their rightful inheritance. However, Bhasa's Sanskrit play, Urubhangam (The Shattered Thigh) presents a brave, noble warrior who had as much right over the throne of Hastinapur as his cousin, Yudhishter. As the dying Duryodhan meets his parents, wives, and son on the battlefield you realise that history is always
written by the victors and the vanquished are always demonised.
Bhootnath in Bhootnath: It is the age when kings have a divine right to rule. But one man challenges this right, the aiyar Bhootnath in a series of books written by Devki Nandan and Durga Prasad Khatri. Bhootnath aka Gadadhar Singh is an ambitious man, a man who can do anything in his lust for power, wealth, and adventure. He is not always brave, not always righteous, but he is determined and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
Daphne Manners in The Jewel in the Crown: Britain is involved in a bloody war on the continent. In India, the clamour for freedom is almost deafening. During these tense times between the two races, a white girl falls in love with a black man. The lovers suffer at the hand of a racist society but remain steadfast. Paul Scott's heroine is vulnerable yet courageous. Somebody who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty while cleaning up the muck.
Prufrock in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: He is what heroes are not: timid, insecure, unsure... "I do not think they will sing to me," he says at one point, pinpointing the prosaic nature of his life. To me T.S. Eliot's greatest creation.
The Whisky Priest in The Power and the Glory: A priest who drinks and has even fathered an illegitimate child, he is not a shining example of institutional religion. But he is the compassionate man who feels sympathetic towards sinners, and is eventually captured by the state because he returns to hear the confession of a dying man. Thru him Greene questions the fundamental tenants of religion.
To see the lists of others, go here: