Review: Ganga: The Constant Goddess

Ganga: The Constant Goddess Ganga: The Constant Goddess by Anuja Chandramouli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”
― Plato, The Symposium

This quote is obviously an allegory which is about how man and woman are incomplete without each other. Or how humans are incomplete no matter what we do? Mythology is an interesting way to know not only about our past but also about our present and future. Anuja always does a great job in mythology with her sharp new insights and impeccable language. “Ganga the constant Goddess” is another one of these.

Ganga and Parvati both daughters of Mena and Himvan are unlike each other. Where Parvati just wants to get married to Shiva, Ganga can not be domesticated. She is a wild force of nature which cannot be still or be tamed. There is rivalry between Ganga and Parvati for Shiva too. Saraswati, who is not Brahma daughter, existed long before him.

The story moves from one place to other as expected as Ganga is wild force of nature. Free spirit of Ganaga is told by Mena:

“For reasons that have always eluded me, the males of any species are most intent on controlling the lives of their ladies for the ostensible purpose of keeping them safe from all harm and shielding them against hurt. It is most foolish and impractical of them! One may as well expect to hold the wind in hand or water in place. In reality, they are little more than parasites who would drain you of everything worth having.”

The language is first rate as always. Anuja interprets the well-known tale from a modern perspective and this book like all her other books is not a simple retelling of classic Ganga story. Puritans may feel that this does not fit their conservative narrative. I think this book is not for them.

Kudos to Anuja for another well written mythological reinterpretation. 4/ 5 stars.

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