Why Draupadi Is The Most Misunderstood Character In Mahabharata
Growing up, I often heard tales from Mahabharata, of mighty Krishna, Arjun the great warrior, Duryodhana the meanest villain. In all these stories the one common character was Draupadi. These stories never could satisfy my curiosity about her.
Often misconstrued to be arrogant, for when she rejected and called out Karna as a Sutaputra at her swayamvar. She was only trying to save her brother’s life at the time.
She was a woman of substance who only spoke her mind in a man’s world, defying the norms of patriarchy and in turn injuring the ego of these men.
Draupadi’s honor is often questioned and she is deemed to be impious for having Five husbands. But shouldn’t we sympathize with for she was a victim of objectification.
It was at her swayamvar that Arjuna won the test and that she chose him to be her husband. She was later degraded in the hands of Kunti as a mere object, who told her sons to share Draupadi.
After being divided among five brothers as cattle; Draupadi showed great resilience and dedication. She led a different life each year being married to one brother at a time, for the rest of her life.
It is quite often that people assume Draupadi to be the cause of Mahabharata’s great war which in turn destroyed the Kaurava clan. “I will not comb it, until the day I bathes in Kauravas blood”.
She said these words in a state of great anguish and anger, after facing utter humiliation in an assembly full of great men, none of whom tried to defend her honour against the Kauravas.
What other words can one expect from a woman scorned? The great war was inevitable because of what society had become and with no fault of Draupadi’s.
As a young adult, Chitra Banarjee’s book The Palace Of Illusions gave a voice to the only character I wanted to hear the most. I think Draupadi’s only fault was that she was born before her time.
One of the first feminists in the world where no one even knew about the concept.