UK Lecturer narrates Mahabharata on Twitter
UK Lecturer narrates Mahabharata on Twitter from the villain's perspective.Reuters

In a trailblazing example of Twitter fiction for India, UK-based academic retold the Sanskrit epic "Mahabharata" is a series of tweets over a span of four years. Now, he is working on a sequel for "Epic Retold" wherein the mythology would be narrated from villain Duryodhana's perspective.

With around 90,000 couplets or shlokas, "Mahabharata" is one of the two epics of Hinduism. It teaches the goal of human life through the Kurukshetra war between the Kauravas and the Pandavs, wherein the Kaurava brothers are the villains and Pandava brothers, the righteous.

Chindu Sreedharan, a lecturer based in the UK, began retelling the "Mahabharata" on Twitter in 2009. He completed "Epic Retold" with 2,700 tweets and later published the collection as a book. Considered as the first Twitter fiction from India, "Epic Retold" pits Bhima, the strongest of the Pandava brothers, as the protagonist.

In the second instalment, however, he would use Bhima's cousin and the main villain Duryodhana as his mouthpiece. "It's going to be challenging to write Duryodhana too, but there's a quick end in sight," Sreedharan told Reuters.

The sequel to "Epic Retold" would present the eldest Kaurava brother as an anti-hero and would be shorter than the first version, Sreedharan revealed. "I know where it will start and how it will end, much more clearly than when I began Epic Retold."

Sreedharan takes artistic liberties while retelling the Sanskrit epic, which does not sit well with many readers. When he portrays Yudhishtira, the eldest Pandava brother and the embodiment of righteousness as a dishonest man, few followers took offence.

The journalism lecturer at Bournemouth says that he began writing the story to see how Indians would react to the reinterpretation and to make the epic palatable for his British colleagues.

Whether they are fans of his work or not, around 3,000 people are waiting to see Sreedharan's, or rather Duryodhana's, version of the "Mahabharat", 140 characters at a time.