V. Raghunathan is the author of Locks, Mahabharata and Mathematics. He worked as a professor of finance at IIM, Ahmedabad for two decades and later served in several top managerial positions at ING Vysya Bank, and the GMR Group. He is also an adjunct professor in behavioral finance at the University of Bocconi, Milan. Raghunathan has authored over four hundred academic papers and six books. He also authored the 2006 bestseller, The Games Indians Play – Why We Are The Way We Are. He also writes regular guest columns in popular publications such as The Economic Times and Mint. Raghunathan is also an avid lock collector, an accomplished public speaker, and a well-known cartoonist.


As the title suggests, Locks, Mahabharata and Mathematics draws unexpected parallels between three completely different worlds. It is an exercise in lateral thinking that tickles your imagination and refreshes your mind with its spirited depiction of the commonalities between three entirely unrelated realms. The author explains the stories from the Indian epic Mahabharata and contrasts them with the locks in his collection and the theories of mathematics. The clear illustrations add value to the description and make it easy for the reader to grasp an otherwise complex concept.

Raghunathan also talks about myriad mathematical concepts such as symmetry, Fibonacci code, linear and quadratic systems, Quintic functions, mathematical probabilities and calculus, among others. The manner in which he draws the similarities between these concepts and the occurrences in the Mahabharata is spellbinding.


Locks, Mahabharata And Mathematics contains ten fascinating stories from the epic Mahabharata. The stories range from Draupadi to Shukracharya, from the Mayasabha to Yudhishthira’s notorious gamble, from Hanumana’s tail to the enchanted pool. Every story is clearly narrated and takes the readers on an exploratory journey of the past. The illustrations of different locks from the author’s collection are fascinating, to say the least. Raghunathan meticulously explains every small detail of the locks from the place of their origin to the mysteries behind them.


As the author rightly mentions in the prologue, this book is not for readers looking to get deep insights into the stories from Mahabharata. The portions which talk about mathematical concepts and theorems may be cumbersome for readers who are not interested in the subject. That said, since all three parts are separate, one can safely skip the mathematical portions.


Ameya Score:

Locks, Mahabharata and Mathematics gets a 3.5-star rating from Ameya. The book’s concept is unique and refreshing, and its language simple and free-flowing. The writing style strikes a chord with the readers and gives free rein to their imagination.

Besides, Raghunathan’s knowledge about antique locks is quite amazing. He painstakingly explains the features of every lock mentioned in the book. Some chapters such as Jarasandha, The Split Lock and Symmetries, Abhimanyu, The One Way Lock and the Spaceship from the Moon, and Shukracharya and Kacha, A Pair of Interacting Keys and Binary Stars are fascinating. All in all, this 200-page book makes for a breezy read and keeps readers engrossed for the most part.

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