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Nature Sao Tome and Principe
~~~Draupadi the wife of the Heroes~~~
Oct 19, 2011 02:22 PM 30314 Views
(Updated Oct 19, 2011 07:55 PM)



Draupadi, probably is another woman character after Eve who don't have a childhood to remember or celebrate.

The novel begins from the end where the fallen Draupadi thinks of Krishn and drops a letter for him to read. It is like a complaint on the justice denied by the world.

Yajnaseni, the story of Draupadi is Pratibha Ray's version of Mahabarata in the perspective of Draupadi. The author takes side with Draupadi here with a feminist attitude and tries to justify her actions by covering up all faults.

In the novel, Pratibha Ray tries to justify Draupadi in her wrong decisions to marry five husbands even after she had a choice to say no. The protagonist complaints the love she doesn't receive from the husbands. She takes credit for creating harmony among the brothers at the same time calls for sympathy for the sacrifice she had to make to become wife of five husbands.

The author more focus on the 'wife' Draupadi and as Krishnbhakth but didn't attempt a mother Draupadi who gave birth to children from all her husbands. The mother in Draupadi didn't gets proportionate thoughts even when they dies in the war.

The author criticise the leading heroes of Mahabharata, i.e. Arjuna and Krishn. In her view, they are one soul. Krishn got spared to most part and the attacks were mainly indirect. However, Arjun got direct wrath from the author. Karn on the other hand had a better coverage and reputation than Arjun. Bhima, though funny at times, gets a comparatively good treatment. The author told short of saying that Arjuna married Draupadi to submit to Krishn. Then, when it comes to Krishn, the author had maintained two standards. On the one hand, she accuses him of not doing sufficient to prevent the bad things happened in her life. He could have foresees that she will be getting married to five instead of one, but he didn't prevent it. He could have foreseen the stripping scene before and could have prevented that but he waited and waited for it to happen and only after she cried out 'LOUD' he heard her call. On the other, the author is all in praise of Krishn. Druapadi have the reserved love for Krishn from the very beginning. Even the swayamvara was 'planned'. The author's accusation on Darmaputhra from the very beginning shows the ray of prejudice the author holds.

The author conveniently skips the first incidents which prompted the stripping scene and in turn the Kurukshethra war. i.e. Draupadi's insult on Duryodana. Also, the author fails the protagonist where there had chances of saying NO to marrying the five husbands. Her decision would have been respected if she didn't start accusing others for her plight as she had given a choice as per the author. She agreed for the marriage to keep respect to the word but is not ready to accept responsibility of it. That made the image as that of a complaining woman instead of a role model who is talented in all art and giving guidance to all of the husbands. Also the author passes the responsibility of denying Karn a chance to marry the protagonist based on his caste.

The book asks a question (there had many wives for the kings during that time and even Krishn had many a wives. Then, why only questions a woman when she marries more than one?), which I found is correct and revolutionary even in today's standards.

The best plus of the book is that, that is helpful in asking some questions to ourselves. The minus is that the author fails to justify the protagonist. Traveling through the minds of characters is not an easy task and the author succeeds partially.

Secret code of Mahabharata

The thought I got while reading the book (not part of the book and it may be there earlier as well) is that - the five Pandavas are five elements of human body. Karn, the first Pandava is son of light, Yudhistara - the second Pandava is the son of Earth, Bhima the the third son of air, Arjuna the son of Indra, who is the god of rainfall as well and forms the water, Nakula/Sahadeva the sky, the son of Ashwini gods who control clouds and the sky. The story of Mahabharata it seems to me that of human life without an essential element in it, i.e. light, i.e. Karn. The marriage of Draupadi to the Pandavas is symbolic and the secret of Mahabharata is that her marriage is incomplete with her non-marriage to Karn. Krishn the love joins Draupadi the body, which forms life. (To stop fire, we have to pour water.That explains killing of Karn, that too when his charriott lost its race of wheel in water from rainfall.)

If we realise that the Pandavas are representatives of human elements and the Mahabharata is a message for humankind to kill the hatred, not the enemies, everything is in harmony, the sins and war is pardoned including that of Draupadi's.

Yajnaseni is not a perfect novel but a good a page turner in most part. Do read it.

PS: The book is written in Oriya and WHAT I read is its Malayalam translation, titled as 'Draupadi'. I feel the translation is quite good. There is an English version of the book as well, if you are interested to read the book.)

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Yajnaseni The Story of Draupadi - Pratibha Ray