By Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Published by Protap Chandra Roy (1842-1895)
Printed at Bharata Press, Calcutta - 1888
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The Drona Parva, or the Book of Drona, is the seventh of eighteen books of the Indian epic Mahabharata. Drona Parva traditionally has 8 sub-books and 204 chapters. The critical edition of Drona Parva has 8 sub-books and 173 chapters.
Drona Parva describes the appointment of Drona as commander-in-chief of the Kaurava alliance, on the 11th day of the Kurukshetra War, the next four days of battles, and his death on the 15th day of the 18-day war. The parva recites how the war became more brutal with each passing day, how agreed rules of a just war began to be ignored by both sides as loved ones on each side were slain, how the war extended into the night, and how millions of more soldiers and major characters of the story - Abhimanyu, Jayadratha, Drona, Ghatotkacha - died during the war.
About the Author and this book:
Kisari Mohan Ganguli (also K. M. Ganguli) was an Indian translator known for being the first to provide a complete translation of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata in English. His translation was published as The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose between 1883 and 1896, by Pratap Chandra Roy (1842–1895), a Calcutta bookseller who owned a printing press and raised funds for the project.
The "Translator's Preface" in Book 1: Adi Parva, Ganguli mentions the sequence of events that led to the publication. Sometime in the early 1870s, Pratapa Chandra Roy, with Babu Durga Charan Banerjee, visited Ganguli at his home in Shibpur in Howrah, Bengal, requesting him to take up the translation project, which he took up after initial reluctance and a second meeting, when extensive plans were drawn, and the copy of a translation by Max Müller was left behind, made some thirty years ago, which on study Ganguli found to be literal and lacking in flow. Thus he started tweaking the text line by line, though "without at all impairing faithfulness to the original". Soon a dozen sheets of his first 'copy' were typed and sent to noted writers, both European and Indian, and only receiving a favorable response from them that the project was initiated.
Ganguli wanted to publish the translation anonymously, while Roy was against it. Ganguli believed that the project was too mammoth to be the work of a single person, and he might not live to complete the project and adding names of successive translators to appear on the title page was undesirable. Eventually, a compromise was reached, though the name of the translator was withheld on the cover, the first book of Adi Parva, that came out in 1883, was published with two prefaces, one over the signature of the publisher and the other headed--'Translator's Preface', to avoid any future confusions, when a reader might confuse the publisher for the author.
However, by the time Book 4 was released, the withholding of authorship did create controversy, as "an influential Indian journal" accused Pratap Chandra Roy of "posing before the world as the translator of Vyasa's work when, in fact, he was only the publisher". Roy immediately wrote a letter to clarify, citing the preface, but the confusion persisted for many years amongst readers who overlooked the preface. Once the complete eighteen books were successfully translated, the name was no longer withheld from the publication. More recently, the scholars to correct this discrepancy were Ronald Inden and Maureen Patterson, compilers of the University of Chicago's Bibliography to South Asian Studies, K. M. Knott in the Janus Press Edition of the first two books of the Mahabharata and A.C. Macdonnell.
The Ganguli English translation of the Mahabharata is the only complete edition in public domain - to date. His translation was reprinted by Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers.
The Pandavas' nephew Abhimanyu battles the Kauravas and their allies, from a manuscript of the Mahabharata Date: approx. 1800-1900
Medium: Opaque watercolors on paper
Place of Origin: India Himachal Pradesh state former kingdom of Kangra
At one point in the great battle of the Mahabharata, the Kauravas gather their army into a large, impenetrable circular formation. When Abhimanyu plans to break into the formation, the Pandavas and their allies promise to follow him, providing assistance and protection.
Once Abhimanyu penetrates the enemy force, however, King Jayadratha and his army prevent the Pandavas from coming to their kinsman's aid. Abhimanyu, though he fights valiantly and slays many opponents, is eventually killed. Here he faces a force that includes the Kaurava brothers Duryodhana, Duhshasana, and Vrindaraka, as well as such allies as Karna and Drona. At the right-hand side of the page the Pandavas face a group of warriors led by King Jayadratha, who is seated on an elephant. Jayadratha was able to hold the powerful Pandavas at bay through a favor he received from the Hindu god Shiva.
Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art
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