Bhim, complete and unabridged

For all those who asked — the full Bhim and nothing but the Bhim. All 72 chapters and 124,000 words of it.

In PDF form here. In Word doc form here.

[Many thanks to regular reader and friend Karunakaran for the effort in compiling this.]

47 thoughts on “Bhim, complete and unabridged

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  3. I want to thank you for bringing Bhimsen to non-Malayalam speakers. I have heard of this book from Malyalee friends for long, but because there was no English translation, i could not access it. And such a wonderful translation, so easy and so contemperory. Thank you for enriching English lit!!!

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  6. I agree with Puja..its not about how well Chitra did her job, but the fact is she sharply brought into focus the woman’s point of view.

    In fact the caste and gender issues trouble me most about the Mahabharath.I read Mrityunjay hoping to see the caste point addressed, but was disappointed..its mostly about saying Karna was not really low caste,…doing nothing to wipe away caste differences.

    The caste/gender oint is the troubling part of the Eternal Dharma perspectives;so much of it has stood the test of time, but the unjustness of this rankles. So if Chitra is shrill, its understandable–and she has brought in new readership!

  7. This is by far the most realistic and sensible version of Mahabharata I have read. I appreciate you sticking to the POV in-spite of major temptation that the story creates at various points. Good determination. All through the read I wanted to read others POVs also. Any such plans?

    I recommended this to lot of cousins who shared with me those childhood bed-time stories that my great grand mother told us.

    Just one word… Thank you!

    • +1 on that. I oft quote this POV instead of Ramanand Sagar’s version now. Very well written and it’s great to see that you have humanised the epic and made everything much more feasible 🙂

  8. Excellent perspective. I first read the excerpt on sharing Draupadi in some weekend supplement. Somehow, it seemed to be the only logical way to explain it. And yet, all these years we’ve lived by some higher spiritual reason for Yudi’s very flawed actions. He was as Dharam Raj as Deve Gowda is a Humble Farmer 😉

    Unfortunately, this re-telling is safe as a PDF. The day it gets published and popular, you’ll have a fatwa on your heads! (I’m almost joking….)

    • Yes, well, it will become a book one of these days/years; then we’ll see. 🙂 Somewhat fancy the idea of having a few Black Cats — as opposed to black cats — following me around. *L*

  9. Have you thought about getting the book published? We desperately need nuanced, POV re-tellings of the Mahabharat in the English language. It’s sad that people seem to know the complete Middle Earth mythology and every word of the Harry Potter series, but ask them about the Mahabharat and all they remember is “5 Good Pandavs Vs 100 Evil Kauravs”. Linear, omniscient tellings like The Mahabharata by Ramesh Menon fail to bring out the complexity of the story, and further they burden the reader with every tangential, add-on story they can.

    The situation is so bad that there are people raving about Palace Of Illusions as “brilliant”.

        • I liked the book, mainly for its ability to ‘force’ the reader to look at the woman’s perspective. Not without any flaws, this book still undoes some harm inflicted upon us by the conventional stories of Mahabharata.
          And as far as Kauravas are concerned, we do need a stronger writing to express ‘their’ point of view, and all these books (which I have read) have done nothing to enlighten me.

          • I’m with Vedang on Palace of Illusions. When you try to force some point of view on someone, it rebounds badly.

            For instance, I could have *forced* you to confront the fact that there are logical alternatives to the supernatural tropes of the Mahabharat, but that would end up being off putting. Instead, if you focus on just telling the story, from whatever point of view, the reader will make the other connections for himself/herself. Divakarunni’s point is that she gets almost shrill with the feminist angle, to the detriment of character development and story telling. 😦

            • When I used the word ‘Force’ , it was just to emphasize the fact that there was some pointer to the woman’s perspective. It needn’t necessarily mean that you ‘have’ to agree to that POV. When we are willing to hear the other side, things become easier to absorb. From what I know and have observed, people are quite rigid when it comes to epics. The stereotypes of being a DharamPurush, Daanveer, etc… make it difficult for other views to get accommodated.

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  12. Thanks Prem for the series and Karun for the compilation. I am now reading Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindu” after learning about the book from your article.

  13. The entire series was really wonderful…have given print out’s of the series to a lot of friends and relatives …all of them have really liked it…would appreciated ur take on Gurcharan das’ book on the Mahabharata…

    • Found it fairly ordinary — it is, IMHO, a column that unfortunately became a book.

      He spent a lot of time reading the Mahabharat and related works. That’s fine.

      He argues that in the Mahabharat can be found parallels to contemporary human behavior. And that is fine, too.

      I have a problem with two aspects of the book, though. The first is that he strains the parallel to breaking point — perhaps nowhere as ridiculously as when he concocts a dice chamber episode out of Manmohan Singh as Bhisma, the Congress as the Kauravas and Pratibha Patil as god only knows what. That is only the most strained of the examples, btw; there are others that you likely stumbled on too.

      The second, and larger, problem is that it is structurally flawed. Each chapter is given over to an extensive retelling of some storyline from the epic — and then the contemporary “parallel” is tacked on to the latter part of the chapter. Makes for a clunky read.

    • C’mon, don’t make it a big deal. It was routine copy-paste work, and it gave me another chance to go back and read the episodes!

      [For those interested, I used pdf995 ( – a freeware with nifty features of creating table of contents with links – to convert the word document into PDF.]

      • Dear Mr.Karunakar
        Can you pls send “Bhimsen Complete and unbridged” either PDF or WORD file to my email ID as I could not download it even after several attempts. There is some problem I facing.

        Thanks for your help and sorry for the inconvenience and a directly addressing this to you.


  14. thanks a lot for this!

    I credit solely you for getting me interested in Mahabharat. After I started reading Bhim, I went off to read everything I could find on Mahabharat 🙂

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