Cloverdale author offers new take on classic war tale – Surrey Now-Leader


A Cloverdale author has put a new spin on a historical epic.

Manu Nellutla returned to his roots to tell another facet of the mahabharata. the mahabharata is a famous Sanskrit epic detailing the battle between two groups of cousins ​​during the Kurukshetra War, a war in northern India thousands of years ago.

Nellutla’s new book, Janya Bharata: The Waris a historical fiction and tells a story related to the Kurukshetra war from the perspective of ordinary people.

“The mahabharata is written from the perspective of the royal family, kings and queens and what happens between them,” Nellutla explained. “And I thought, ‘What was going on in the rest of India at the time?’ We always look at war from the perspective of royalty, generals, or major politicians – major players, if you will – but what about commoners? What about that other side?

Nellutla searched everywhere but found no history related to other tribes or people at that time in other parts of India. It was then that he had the idea to write a story about what could have happened elsewhere. He imagined a tribe called to fight in the battle of Kurukshetra.

So he started to write. At first, he thought he would just explore the idea by putting some thoughts down on paper and seeing how the story unfolded. But soon after, he was looking at a 270-page book.

“The story is told from the perspective of commoners,” Nellutla said. “Janya means common or war, and Maha means great or epic. So it’s not ‘Maha’ Bharata, it’s ‘Janya’ Bharata. It is a very common bharata. This was what was happening in the life of commoners in India at that time.

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The story revolves around a tribe that is drawn into the Kurukshetra War. Nellutla explores the thoughts, feelings, discussions and debates among the tribesmen about why they are drawn into this war. Along the journey, the reader discovers what happens to the men on the frontlines and those who stay at home and what they struggle with, both mentally and physically.

“There are also philosophical questions about war and the very real implications of what it means for the people,” Nellutla explained. “It examines how war affects ordinary people, but keeping the mahabharata in mind. So it’s a very different approach.

Janya Bharata: The War is for sale on Amazon and Nellutla said it was still at the top of the “newest and bestsellers” list for Indian mythology books on Amazon after a few weeks.

Nellutla added that the book has received a good response from readers familiar with Indian history and philosophy and also from those who are not so familiar. He said the book is very accessible to any reader. It’s written in such a way that readers can grab it and dive right into the pages – you don’t need to know anything about the mahabharata in advance.

“Anyone can pick it up and start reading,” he said. “The underlying philosophy, what happens with war and the questions that arise are universal themes. They are just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.

He said there was also a detailed prologue which opens a window on the Mahabharata.

“My children grew up here and they don’t know this epic,” Nellutla explained. “So I wrote Janya Bharata from the point of view that if my children read this, or anyone else in the world who knows the English language but not Indian history reads this, then they can follow along and get something out of it.

Nellutla was born and raised in India, lived and worked in Rwanda for six years, before moving to Cloverdale several years ago. Besides being an author, Nellutla is a TEDx speaker, singer, podcaster, and public speaker. He is fluent in four languages.

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