Kurukshetra

Fire had burnt his entire house. Havoc spread all around. The most magnificent house of the city was burning down to ashes. With it burned the expensive interiors, the colourful drapes, the historic paintings, the glamorous chandelier but most importantly, the library. The most prized possession of a writer. Ved wasn’t even in his house when this happened. And by the time he reached, it was too late. His dreams had been cremated.

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Who could have done that? Everyone loved him, everyone worshipped his work. He was the most prolific writer the world had ever witnessed. Such was his masterpiece that every other work of art was said to draw an inspiration from his work. Yet, someone had torched his house. Who could have hated him so much? The two biggest forces in the world, God and Satan were his progeny. They wouldn’t have dared to demolish their master. And yet, there was someone who dared.

Ved pondered in disbelief as he saw his house burn down faster than the house of lac. One of the most beautiful scenes from his book. He never really saw a house of wax burning. He used his imagination to create the surreal. But now, someone had turned his imagination into reality. Now he knew exactly how the house of lac would have burnt.

As he was about to leave the site he heard a laughter. Someone was mocking him. He turned around. Deceit pierced his heart. He was betrayed by his progeny. A man who was neither a God nor Satan. The most powerful character of his book – Karna. Only he could have burnt the house down. He had the power of fire. After all, the Lord of fire, the Sun God was his father.

Ved – Why?

Karna – Isn’t it a writer’s dream to see the events of his book turn into reality?

Ved – I created you. I made you more powerful than anyone else, I gave you recognition. People have written more about you than any of my other characters and this is how you thank me?

Karna – Power is a perception. Power is what other people felt I possessed when in reality you made be the weakest.

Ved – Rubbish!!! You were more powerful than all your half-brothers. In fact all their powers combined couldn’t have matched yours.

Karna – And yet what did I do with those powers? A woman was violated in front of my eyes. A monster stripped her of her dignity in an open court, in front of my eyes. And what did my powerful hands do? Did it stop the violator? Did it rip apart the eyes that dared to desecrate a woman? No. My powerful hands simply clapped. I was a mere audience. I ruled the side-lines.

Ved – In a story every character is given a fixed role. I had created Lord Krishna as theman who was supposed to stop the mishap.

Karna – So why didn’t he?

Ved – Of course he did! Who do you think protected her dignity? Why do you think her clothes never really came off?

Karna – Aaah that act. What I don’t get about that heroism is why couldn’t he simply chop off Dushshasan’s hands? He had a sudarshan chakra, didn’t he? And he was pretty skilled at using it. So why didn’t he use it? It would have taught every man in that room a lesson. Why just that room, every man in this world, even our own judicial system would know the punishment for trying to violate a woman.

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Ved – Power is only bestowed to those who can handle it. It isn’t meant to flaunt. Dushshasan was punished by the husbands of the same woman. Don’t you remember how Bheem broke Dushshasan? How Draupadi washed her hair with the blood…..

Karna – ha ha ha ha. You know I really wonder what Draupadi would have wanted if asked to choose between chopping the hands of Dushshasan in the same court and washing her hair with his blood? I mean who does that? She had beautiful hair, why would she want to wash it with someone’s blood.

Ved – I showed the world the power of a woman’s rage. I empowered that woman.

Karna – So your idea of empowering a woman is by making men powerful enough to help her get revenge? I am sorry but your definition of empowerment is quite irrational.

Ved – Those weren’t ordinary men. They were the son of Gods. Son of your mother. They were her husbands.

Karna – They were the same men who were responsible for the trauma their wife went through. I really don’t understand why they were the heroes and I was the Villain. I have never humiliated a woman. And yet people today sing praises of those five powerful men, son of Gods who gambled their own wife. What message did you want to give to your readers?

Ved – That greed can overpower the most powerful men.

Karna – I know of greedy men. They can betray their friends, they can lie, cheat and steal to get what they want, but you know something. They are more powerful than your sons of Gods. Because under no circumstance will they gamble their wife. Marriage is the most powerful ritual. It celebrates the birth of a bond. Bond that is strengthened by love, trust and understanding. A husband takes an oath to protect his wife, to stand by her even when the world turns against her. Not to gamble her for money.

Ved was silenced. His ideologies, his philosophies were being brutally crushed. By a man who was created by him.

Karna – Talking about marriage, I have heard of emperors who had more than one wife. I know of some who had twenty wives. But I have never heard of emperors sharing a wife? That too brothers! I am glad I was raised by a poor charioteer. I am glad they were simply my half-brothers. Because I would have slayed anyone who would have even dreamt of sleeping with my wife. Even my brothers!

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Ved – Arjun had made a promise to his mother that he would share the alms.

Karna – And since when did Arjun become such a momma’s boy?

Ved -I am your creator! You don’t have the right to mock me! You are what I made you. And in return what you did is blasphemy. Tell me, why did you burn down my house?

Karna – To stop you. To stop your ridiculous theories about power and purity. To stop you from writing another misplaced set of ideologies. Today, the world deserves powerful heroes. Women deserve righteous men. Faith deserves virtuous Gods. The only thing you gifted to mankind is politics. Oh yes, and also the world’s longest epic.

P.S. – Thank you Charulika Dhawan for inspiring me to write this story.

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19 thoughts on “Kurukshetra

  1. Ahh.aa…Yes… Women are asked to cover, men are never punished. Kings having 20 wives is ok but a woman having 5 husbands is mocked and she becomes an object to be shared. Mother says, share it and they blindly follow it!!!…we talk about our rights and we are called feminists, and men ?

    1. The entire argument is flawed. Sanatana Dharma never told any woman to cover, as in a hijaab. In fact, the dresses worn by women in the early ages were pretty and provocative, as depicted outside various temples or if reference to our television serial such as The Mahabharta or Ramayana can be valid. The issue of Polygamy to has always been justly defended. If a society existed where polygamy existed, so did Swayamvara exist in the same society. Women empowerment at it’s best. It was an age where royal suitors were less in number, so polygamy existed. Today the world has changed and polygamy been rightly banned, and it has been upheld by all sects in Hinduism. A different Yuga poses different challenges. It is not advisable to mix them and speak out of context. What more would you want for woman empowerment? It was an age where brother’s would share a wife on a mother’s supposedly unknowing command, and five of the best men on earth at the behest of one woman !!!! Pretty audacious, I’d say !!!

  2. The article,though articulate,cannot be judged on the train of thoughts alone.
    If reference to the mythological legend has to be accounted for, it has to be in totality. Karna was a blind person, blinded by his faith and loyalty towards a meagre character like Duryodhana. The references used are incorrect too…the Pandavas were not Gods. In fact, The Mahabharata is an ancient Hindu text, to teach men the perils of being a mortal. It is held in reverence so we can learn the acts of Dharma and Karma.
    Arjuna was in fact pretty meager in comparison to Karna as a human, but it was his devotion to the Almighty Krishna, that wades his through his journey of life.
    Draupadi had five husbands, because she had been foolhardy to WANT all the best qualities in her man. Even though the grace of Shiva endowed her with her wishes, she had to do with five Pandavas, more than she could bargain for.
    Lastly, a word on the question of Krishna’s godly powers. He intercepted only to restore Dharma in the age of Adharma. His ways cannot be questions on the basis of motives. His reasoning and behaviour has always been just to cause of Karma.

    1. Pandavas weren’t Gods, but they were sons of Gods, that makes them demi gods. Draupadi’s character was written in a way that it was almost like she had committed a mistake by asking for such qualities in a man and that God was mocking her to wish for such a boon. Arjun won Draupadi in a swayamvar. Draupadi loved him. He could have said no to sharing. More importantly Yudhishtir, the “Dharamraj” could have stop the adarma of sleeping with his brother’s wife.

  3. The discourse I would have to submit to defend the accusations would be unsurmountable. However, to answer the question, Dharmaraaj was no God. He made many mistakes in his life, moreso at the game of dice. He paid no heed before putting his wife on the game. He too was flawed, a demi-god , not a God.
    However, the larger picture is way different. The Gods knew, far before, the events that would have happened. So to end the Adarma Yuga, there had to be a divide between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. However, man is bent on power, money or lust. So Draupadi was the key to prevent the breakage of bond between the Pandavas. If all shared one supreme beauty, all would vow to defend and fight for her as well. So Kunti, the sister of Vasudeva, who was father if Krishna, without flincing an eye, told the brothers to share whatever Arjuna had won. Though this caused initial discomfort, in the larger scheme of things it was a perfect plan. Not that the Pandavas were happy with the way things turned out in the beginning. However, wily Krishna convinced all the Pandavas.
    In hindsight, try not to forget that the characters in The Mahabharata were mere pawns in the hands of the Gods, they had to be manipulated, preached and moved around for the eventual reign of Dharma. Just a note to get you thinking on the right track, none of Draupadi’s children survived. She wasn’t pious in the eyes of Dharma or Karma.

    1. The characters of any book aren’t pawns of God but pawns of the author. In this case, Rishi Ved Vyaasa.

      Secondly, If I am not wrong you are saying to strengthen the unity amongst brothers their mother decided to get them to marry the same woman. So probably the Ambani brothers should have married the same woman. How about Ram and Lakhsman. they were brothers too. And their bond was unbreakable. In spite of the fact that they didn’t marry the same woman.

      In Hindu religion, elder brother’s wife is considered as mother. A woman you respect and look up to. Not go to bed with.

      1. Rishi Ved Vyas was a kala-avatar of Lord Vishnu, and he had devised The Mahabharata so as to send the inherent messages to the masses in a way which upholds and preserves the mannerisms and ways a person must conduct himself in a society, in a poetic form. The tale has not been told to ask questions on its authenticity, rather with a view to have an understanding of human relations in an ideological society.
        Arguments to Ambani brothers’ is baseless. Hinduism has banned polygamy anyways. Moreover, this is Kal Yuga. One would not even live with one’s own mother today , just for materialistic wealth. Imagine living in a forest with your family??? I don’t think so. Ideals and principles which you follow today must be a way lot funny to the Pandavas. We blame them of polygamy, what about the hundreds of evils that exist in our society in this age?
        Ramayana too, was a story of Gods. Reference is invalid.
        Rishi Ved Vyas worked a myriad of a story to teach ways of living, encapsulating the perils of the THEN MODERN SOCIETY. Half of us would not even marry a girl of our mother’s choice. How can we even judge the intentions of Kunti’s judgement ?
        If at all, I can shed a light on the efficacy Karma and Dharma held in Dwapar Yuga, even Lord Krishna dies of a mere arrow. Even he could not be absolved.

  4. So what message did he send by:

    1 – Choosing to redress Draupadi instead of chopping of Dushashan’s hands

    2 – 5 brothers marrying the same woman

    3 – Gandhari blindfolding herself. When she could have been the eyes of her husband.

    Last but not the least Why did Kansa put Vasudev and Devaki in the same cell when he knew that their son would destroy him?

    1. 1- The courtyard, where no one opposed the betting of Draupadi, was filled with people who were confused on grounds of morality and justice. It was Lord Krishna who had to step in to steer them clear of all myriads and confusions. The message is clear.. righteousness in character leads to same in decisions. Stand up to injustice before it goes out of hand.

      2- Decisions taken by your elders are to be revered. Though you may not fully understand the significance today, you will understand them later in life. Their unison in all forms of life provided them with the strength to win at Kurukshetra. So when your parents tell you to study… You better do 🙂

      3- There are two plausible reasons. The background is she did not know of her to be husband’s blindness.
      First, she got angry and blindfolded herself so her husband could never see the world through her eyes, the very reason Dhritarashtra might have married.
      Moral- Deceit gets you nowhere duffer
      Second, she wanted to share his pain.
      Moral – Love selflessly

      And now the effervescent question you are looking the answer for….
      Simply put as… Curiosity killed the cat.
      On a serious note, Kansa was a Kshatriya, and everyone knew about Krishna’s prediction. He loved his fame more than his life. So he took it up as a challenge. His ego got the better of him. If he were as quick witted as you, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  5. i know what u are refering to, so realy gud, i luved the way u have told the story, this is more like theatre stuff i dnt knw, gud

  6. The message is clear cut; Hypocrisy was there; with time it just grew bigger; society was mean that time; senseless humans (Demi gods) presence was also there; so what’s the difference ? Nothing, we are just too lethargic and senseless to make ourselves able humans………

    Joy; indeed not only a good writer you are; but must say; ‘ a brilliant thinker’; looking forward to your novel….

  7. Brilliantly put…agree with some, disagree with some. But that’s the beauty of the text, it’s open to interpretations. So here’s a bit of my explanation as far as the cheer haran point goes since it’s so close to my heart. Krishna’s darling Pandavas were the real culprits since they had pawned their wife. Any hand chopping should have been aimed at them. Now, Krishna couldn’t have punished Pandavas. Moreover, Draupadi was now just a kaneez, a maid, and maids used to get sexually abused everyday by kings. So he couldn’t have chopped off his hands. The whole point was to mock him and stop him in his tracks, which he did.

  8. m amazed at the way u have used Mahabharata to show the actual problem that lies in the society… enjoyed reading it… a very beautiful piece of work..keeep it up.. m really going to suggest ur blog to people.. u did a great job..:]

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