Book Review | Ahalya | Koral Dasgupta


Ahalya, one of the panchkanya’s story has many interpretations and retelling and in most of them she is describe as ‘poor thing’, victim to the illusion of king of God and her husband’s curse. But Koral’s Ahalya is anything but a ‘poor thing’.

Here’s Ahalya is brave, fierce, strong headed yet desirable and epitome of beauty and softness. This one is a brave and heartfelt story.
Narrated in Ahalya’s own voice one can sense the feminist in her who accompanies her husband on his work, consider her rightful place besides him not below him, who seeks sexual pleasure and doesn’t consider it sins, who doesn’t denies her heart desire, when gautum accused her of cheating and curse her yet she shows no shame or guilt clearly stating that female sexuality and love is not someting to be ashamed of! Bravo there. The book clearly gives the mordern day message. What really hits home is that she isn’t chasing dreams of world domination, she is just looking for small joys but in the world of patriarchy where decision are thrown at her leaving no room for arguement that small joys are long and arduous journey. Seeking simple life pleasure which mans takes for granted will bring her nothing but hardship that will lead her to cursed life and longings until Vishnu rescues her and world looks at her in a new light.

Ahalya, a ambitious creation of Brahma often ask about mother and father throughout the book and I absolutely loved how beautifully mother’s are explained by author in the book.

‘She is the creator who can confront  Brahma. She is sustainer who can challenge Vishnu. And she is the destroyer who can foresee such evils that shiva may not’.

Beautifully written with a gripping tone Ahalya is a book which deep dives into your heart and stays there and questions you and gives you answers. Unlike many mythological fiction where there’s stories in story throwing light to many mythological characters, the book sticks to Ahalya story. Doing complete justice to the first panchyakanya and that I absolutely loved about this book.

This one is one of the best mythological fiction and after reading this one I can’t wait to read forthcoming books of the sati series.

Ratings: 4/5

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