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UK academic plans ‘Mahabharata’ Twitter sequel

London: A UK-based Indian academic, who has retold the ancient Sanskrit epic ‘Mahabharata’ in a series of tweets, is now preparing for a sequel to the Twitter version, this time from the perspective of its key villain Duryodhana.

Chindu Sreedharan, a former war reporter-turned-journalism lecturer at Bournemouth University on the south coast of England, began narrating the Indian epic on the microblogging site as a digital storytelling experiment in 2009. The story spanned four years and 2,700 tweets and his efforts were released in December as India’s first Twitter fiction novel titled ‘Epic Retold.’  The 41-year-old author says he is now taking a “breather” before embarking on a sequel to the epic.

With over 100,000 couplets or shlokas, ‘Mahabharata’ is one of the two epics of Hinduism. It teaches the goal of human life through the tells of a dynastic struggle for power between the Kauravas and the righteous Pandavas.

The sequel to ‘Epic Retold’ would present the eldest Kaurava brother as an anti-hero and would be shorter than the first version.  “Towards the end of ‘Epic Retold,’ particularly because of the way certain things have been reimagined, I began to see Duryodhana differently. I could see his point of view. ‘Epic Retold’ was Bhima’s ‘truth’. This will be Duryodhana’s,” Sreedharan said.

The final format of the sequel is under discussion with the publisher but it will be a short story rather than a novel and this time the full draft will be ready before he starts tweeting it out.

“’Epic Retold’ was written on Twitter, kind of in real time -– so it was quite challenging. I am hoping to catch my breath before I start it [sequel], so it is all still a few months away,” Sreedharan said.

The academic, who has reported on the Kashmir conflict, the Kargil war, and the Maoist People’s War guerrilla movement, was drawn to the ‘Mahabharata’ due to the conflict at the heart of the warring Kauravas and Pandavas

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