“Originally written in Hindi by the great poet, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and published just before India’s independence, in the aftermath of the two World Wars; ‘Kurukshetra’ is regarded as an all-time classic war-epic. Unlike most work on war which eulogizes the victor, this grand work puts forth a novel war philosophy - in war no one either wins or loses; it is humanity which is crushed.
When Dinkar was writing ‘Kurukshetra’; India was facing great turmoil in its struggle for independence. Exploited for centuries, many countries were enslaved and poor. The World itself was embroiled in an immense power struggle. Even today, people continue to suffer from oppression, exploitation, violence and poverty. Under these circumstances ‘Kurukshetra’ ponderance over the larger question of war or peace, violence or non-violence becomes significant.
The book is in the form of a dialogue between the two central characters of Mahabharata; Yudhishthira and Bhishma and reflects genuine reservations of Yudhishthira who views war as an act of sin resulting in massacre, pain and loss. Yudhishthira raises the most important question, as to who is to be blamed for war. Whether the oppressor, or the oppressed who is compelled to retaliate. He views renunciation of war as the ultimate act that will lead mankind towards eternal peace.
This all-time classic epic has been restricted to readers of Hindi. My objective is to render not a translation but the essence of Dinkar’s philosophy to a wider audience of readers in the English language, as it remains relevant even after seventy five years. I would be satisfied if the book succeeds even minutely in drawing attention of the world to Dinkar’s ideals.”