Books For Beginners
Anugraha Madhavan
GITA: THE BATTLE OF THE WORLDS by Sonal Sachdev Patel HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2018, 104 pp., 250
November 2018, volume 42, No 11

‘For Karma is a mathematical law, What’s next depends on what’s done before’—is the premise of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. The ethical conundrums of right-wrong or good-evil fall under a larger spiritual understanding and acceptance of one’s duty. This complex idea which forms a part of the Bhagavad Gita has been re-written by Sonal Sachdev Patel and Jemma Wayne-Kattan in a lucid style, appropriate for their middle grade and young adult audience.

For an adult reader, what strikes the most is the lack of simplification, a practice that jeopardizes a lot of children’s literature. While simplifying a grand idea for a younger audience is necessary, oversimplification results in distortion of the said ideas which ultimately undermines the purpose of the book. Patel and Wayne-Kattan’s work bring in the importance of psycho-spiritual development for a well-adjusted growth in an age-appropriate manner.

Having said that, the plot of Gita: The Battle of the Worlds is the story of eleven-year-old Dev who is trying to process his emotions after the sudden demise of his father. The story is about Dev eventually mastering his anger and frustration at the unfairness of the situation. The narration is one of a process. Here’s where the story takes on an interesting turn. It incorporates elements of the mystical as Dev meets a sprite-like creature named Sanjay who helps Dev find his way. After that, it is Dev’s journey as much as it is Sanjay’s.

Continue reading this review