Draupadi – an enigma

Draupadi – An enigma

Of all characters of Mahabharat, Draupadi’s character is probably the most complex and interesting, barring the Shri Krishna’s character. If I dare say, one can paint her as a positive character or a negative one, if one wants to. One can find enough of both, positive and negative indicators about her personality, such is her character.

She is said to be the prime reason for war of Mahabharat, by referring Duryodhana as a blind’s son. If possible, people will also attribute her beauty as a bad thing. What is important here to understand that Draupadi was not influencing Dhritrashtra or Duryodhana to become greedy and thus not allowing pandavas to have what was rightfully theirs, which is the main reason behind Mahabharat war in my opinion. Also, how one can explain the numerous wrongdoings, which duryodhana has inflicted on pandavas with the sole purpose of acquiring a kingdom, which was not theirs. Duryodhana has gone to the extent of killing pandavas, but strangely, somehow people choose to blame Draupadi and ignore these factors. Certainly, these things cannot be attributed to Draupadi and citing only one incident as the reason for Mahabharat war is probably going a bit too far.
Arjuna winning Draupadi's hand
Arjuna winning Draupadi’s hand
On the other hand, lets examine the circumstances which Draupadi faced, and try to gauge reactions to these events. For example, how would a lady feel if she has to become a wife of five persons simultaneously, or how one would feel if someone is used as a material object and was lost to Duryodhana by her own husband, Yudhishthira. Being a queen, she was subjected to ultimate dishonour by Dushashana, that too before all the great people who were present there, like Bhishma, Drona, Vidura etc.
Draupadi vowed to not to tie her hair until they are dipped in Dushashana’s blood. I consider this fair, as she was subjected to lot more wrongdoings, and the pain of humiliation is much more to handle than anything else. And above all, I would have agreed this as a wrongful thing, if Dushashana would have been a nice human being, which I think is far fetched thing. Duryodhana even went further to suggest her as a fallen lady because she was a wife of five persons. What we forget that she was just obeying the wishes of her mother in law, Kunti. But history is full of such incidences, where a person is treated wrongfully even the person has acted fairly. Draupadi’s is one of these.
Draupadi cheerharan
Draupadi cheerharan
Draupadi cheer haran by Dushashan
Draupadi cheer haran by Dushashan

1 thought on “Draupadi – an enigma”

  1. With all due respect, I think this rievew is quite unfair for many reasons.Firstly, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s book is hardly the first to focus on Draupadi. Given that the Indian mind’s mythography is based in the Mahabharata, we have, if anything an obsession with this woman, her courage, her victimhood, her heroism, failures and successes. Divakaruni’s book, is, if anything, a gross exoticization of all that. Draupadi’s sensitivities (as the author’s) appear more Western and regarding everything in her own surrounding not from the eye of the rejected insider or someone who failed to fit into what must be her own, but an almost alien critic, who knows she must live in what is clearly, from the start, a backward and oppressive society. We do not go through that process that is so natural to life, of discovering the good bad and ugly, going through the layers of emotions for the very same spaces and people.Maybe I’m over-analyzing the book, but my own obsession with Draupadi and love of the complex life she might have lived felt horribly flattened and all the real complexity drained, with Divakaruni’s book. Not that Pratibha Ray’s Yajnaseni was better or anything, but it was, in some ways, more honest, less contrived in its writing and description, more a book of self-discovery and realization, of trust and betrayal.


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