Expressing Life

Book Review: ‘Arjun – Without A Doubt’ by Dr. Shinde Sweety

Book Review: Arjun – Without A Doubt

~Be careful of what you wish for, you may get it.~

Author: Dr. Shinde Sweety
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Price: Rs. 195/-

Genre: Mythological Fiction
Rating: 4/5 
ISBN- 9789381836972

Months of March and April are bound to be the busiest with regards to business/profession or studies. It was hard to say no to a book so beautiful, that I ended up reading it just two days before my toughest subject’s exam. And boy, it was worth the read!

A wound made by an arrow will cicatrize and heal; a forest felded by the axe will spring up again in new growth; but a wound made by the tongue will never heal‘ proclaims the Mahabharata, one of the two major epics that tell the story of the ancient India, the other being the Ramayana.

Being fortunate enough to have read the Mahabharata, in a detailed summary, this book posed a challenge in front of me. So, here is my review of the debut novel of Dr. Sweety Shinde, ‘Arjun- Without A Doubt’-

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Back Blurb from the book

‘I knew there was nothing poetic about death. I knew not that the most horrific battles are fought off the battlefield.’

Arjun: The idealist in a non-ideal world, the warrior whose deadliest opponent was his conscience. History forgot his voice, but misquoted his silence.

‘My self esteem originates from me and ends in me. Why does your honor depend on me? Find your own.’

Draupadi: The untamed tigress, the fragrant flame, the unbridled spirit.

‘Power does not justify sin. Power is not virtue. Virtue is that which lasts in spite of power.’

Krishn: The enigma whose unique ideology churned the battlefield into a quest for truth.

The Missile… The Trajectory… The Vision…
The trio that makes for the core of the Mahabharata.
This is their saga. Insightful, visceral and candid.

Plot- This book is an altogether different portrayal of the greatest epic, Mahabharata, the protagonists being Arjun and Draupadi. This story identifies the Hero and the Heroine of the Mahabharata. The hardships and the battles fought by Arjun, the insults and the wretched duty of dharma imposed upon Draupadi and how they both battled their individual demons with their guide, their best friend, Krishn, is the storyline.

The author, through her book, reverberates the love story of Arjun and Draupadi that was showered with exiles and separation but nurtured with unmeasured passion and fire. The story starts with Draupadi’s swayamvar, the foundation of the most miserable yet beautiful love story of the history. This book is a saga of their constant triumph over the evils, both external and internal.
Arjun, the idealist, as the author describes him, is the soul and Draupadi, the flame that keeps him alive. Krishn, the eternal enigma, is their chaperone, the oxygen required by the flame to burn.

Arjun’s journey with her wife by her one side and best friend by another through the catacombs of family, duty of dharma, war, destruction and in the end, solace is beautifully carved in these 306 pages. 
It is not just the author’s impression of Arjun and Draupadi’s painful love saga, but also the story of a man and a woman being pure friends, Govind and Krishnaa, as Arjun called them.
It is, in the real sense, a tribute to the greatest warrior the world has known, the extraordinary Hero, Arjun. 


  • Rich writing style.
  • Fresh and unconventional portrayal of the epic.
  • Short chapters.
  • Excellent Cover.


  • Fast paced, stories cut short.
  • Not easy to follow for people who haven’t read/heard Mahabharata.
  • Missed a few incidents.

My Questions: I am a die-hard fan of the Mahabharata and this makes me question a few takes and turns of the author’s story. I have read the epic in a brief yet fulfilling summary. The distortion of Yudhisthir’s image is hard to swallow, as is the omittance of several important incidents. Let me list them down-

  1. Draupadi’s rejection of Karna as the charioteer’s son.
  2. The Reason behind Draupadi’s marriage to the Five Pandava’s instead of only Arjun.
  3. Duryodhan’s insult by Draupadi.- “Andhasya Putra Andhaha” 
  4. Draupadi’s Cheer-Haran. 
  5. The encounter with Yaksha
  6. When Arjun tried killing Yudhisthir in Kurukshetra War.
My favorite anecdote: Page 78, Krishn to Kalyani a.k.a Draupadi:
“Once, there was a cub whose foot was tied to the tree trunk to prevent him from wandering off. Years passed, the cub grew up, the tree withered and the chain was chopped off. But the cub refused to believe it was free! Sometimes, the idea of bondage is stronger than the chains.”
It’s relevance to the present society we live in, makes it stand out.

About the Author: 

‘The heart can be dissected, the brain can be spliced open, but I love to unravel the mind and emotions.’

Dr. Shinde Sweety holds a Doctorate in Medicine.
Avid Mahabharata fan. Voracious reader.
Yoga enthusiast, Student of Spanish and yearns to learn Sanskrit.
Skilled at pencil sketch. Loves to daydream and swim – but preferably not together!
Curious about the Mystic & Mystique. Insane about soulful music.
Content to be cocooned in a dream world. You can follow/contact her at her blog, Impractical Dreamer at 

Personal Opinion: Did I enjoy reading this book? Ah, yes, without a doubt! It is hard to believe that this book is author’s debut novel because the richness of literature, the beauty of the language speaks much more. She attempt to weave into words the fierce emotions of the most courageous fighter- the saviour of Indraprastha, Draupadi, destroying the image of her being the most cursed woman in the Indian history, is extraordinary and my personal favorite part of her book.
I would recommend this book to people of all age brackets, keen to divulge into the ocean of the Indian epic, Mahabharata, in a totally unexpected manner, refreshingly enjoyable. No doubt, I have my questions but this book is a must read, for all of you reading this review or not. It is a challenge for those who possess knowledge of the epic be it through the TV adaptations or other sources of literature, do test yours.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Radhika Mundra

Radhika Mundra is an aspiring writer, a lifestyle blogger and an intense storyteller.


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  • A very precise and apt review.
    Some of the omissions you pointed like Draupadi rejecting Karna and 'Andhasya Putra Andhaha',they are mentioned in very few mahabharat editions and most importantly dropped by Critical edition Bhandarkar,so these melodramatic events perhaps never happened.

  • Great review. Precise and on point.

    As for some of the omissions you talked about, let me clarify. Andha Ka Putra Andha does not feature in Vyasa’s Mahabharata. It was the figment of imagination of a much later playwright that became popular courtesy TV serials and novels. As for rejection of Karna by Draupadi – this incident has been excised by the Critical Edition of Mahabharata, as during research it was discovered that this occurs only in a few manuscripts.

Radhika Mundra

Radhika Mundra is an aspiring writer, a lifestyle blogger and an intense storyteller.

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