Was Draupadi the cause of the Mahabharata? Do you believe that she was the “rebel,” the downfall of the Pandavas and the Kauravas? Do you also hold the princess of Panchal in a dark, accusing light like the rest of the world? Well, here is a different perspective—a more relatable one, I’d say. Draupadi Demystified by Mahendra Arya delves into the realities of that agonising episode and that era in a retrospective yet different light.
I pray to God—let there be no Mahabharat ever again!-Draupadi
This line, which concluded the book “Draupadi Demystified” by Mahendra Arya, kind of killed something in me, and how! It was beyond unnerving for me. It felt as if something had snapped away from its source, dawdling away, like a kite cut from its strings, or a new bloom cut clean from its plant and left to wither.
You must be like, “What’s gotten into her today to get so melancholic?” Well, to be honest, I have always felt that the entire story that pertains to and speaks about Princess Draupadi does not only pertain to the wrongdoing of the situation alone. A story about pain, a right, and a point of view that was not previously considered Yes, for many years, people have debated and pondered only the infamous disrobing, but what about the mental wounds inflicted at that time? What was Princess Panchali’s (aka Draupadi’s) fault? Did she have to bear the brunt of other people’s wrongdoing and still be the “labelled” one, gloatingly referred to as a “rebel”?
Tell me something, guys. Over the years, we have been led to believe that Draupadi was the catalyst for the Mahabharata’s occurrence. Do you believe in this thought? Also, did Gandhari really have 100 sons? Or is the real story something else? It’s shocking, isn’t it? Answering and clearing much more than the regular qualms, such as whether Draupadi was born out of fire or whether she had made fun of Duryodhan when he visited the Pandavas’ palace in Indraprastha, this one I felt was a sincere attempt to supplicate history with facts rather than give it a different perspective or light. Well, this book actually raised questions for me that were pretty unsettling, and from Draupadi’s perspective as well, it was another insight to have delved into.
So, returning to this book, it is much more than just another title highlighting an account of what actually happened at the time and the causes behind it; “Draupadi Demystified” is a much deeper attempt to delve into and understand what is the emotion behind the inflicted suffering, what was actually at stake, and what eventually transpired.
Mahabharat is both the longest epic and one of the longest poems ever written. According to historians, the original epic, written by Maharshi Ved Vyas, contained 4400 Sanskrit shlokas, while Vyas’ disciples added 5600 shlokas to the original text, bringing the total number of texts to 10000. While the current version contains 1,25,000 shlokas, the Mahabharata has grown to be 30 times longer than it was originally.
I have read countless books on this subject, many of which have been written brilliantly, and yet I want to say today that for me, the differentiator and the winning point about this particular narrative was the simplicity and factuality with which the story was put across, keeping it to the point while still showcasing a sense of aesthetic creativity, which is the strong point of any good writer. Yes, Mahendra did not simply use this to sensationalise the disrobing or to harp on the rivalry. A pure, unadulterated attempt to present Princess’s point of view—her entire thought process—I thought was fantastic.
My own people were converting people into corpses, their wives into widows, and their children into orphans. They killed nearly 40 lakh people in eighteen days. Does it matter who won the war? “The survivors were losers too.
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A powerful set of lines from the book depicts what really must have gone on in Draupadi’s mind when she was bogged down with false accusations by the society that labelled her as the “downfall” of the Pandavas. Any self-respecting woman will never appreciate being made a part of such an inhuman act as being made to be “traded” like goods on barter in a game of dice. One cannot objectify another for any sake, and this is prime learning, which was the motto to be taken from the epic. Fortunately, Mahendra has put this idea forth in a beautiful manner, making it clear for the readers by describing Draupadi’s anguish rather than glorifying the wrongdoings. It hit me how this writer came forth to put forward a prerogative that is so basic and simple, yet is so looked down upon simply because of a lack of acceptance on society’s part. Brilliant writing!
So, I hope you enjoyed my review of Who Is the Wrongdoer or the Wrong? Draupadi Demystified by Mahendra Arya.
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