Hapless women of the Indian Epic(2)
We have been taught to accept that the women were highly esteemed in the ancient India. I have noticed that the verses of the Mahabharata (one of the great Epics of India) tell different tales. A few examples may be cited.
Gandharee was really an elegant babe, daughter of a king, pretty and a quality girl, when she was robbed of by the warriors of Hastinapur with Vishma as the leader and was forced to get married with a person named Dhritorastro who was not allowed to occupy the throne simply for the reason that he was visually challenged.
The babe was never informed of this and as and when she came to learn this she began to use a piece of dark cotton over her eyes as a mark of protest or even of resignation to life.
The life of Kunti, the fortunate and unfortunate mother of Arjuna, was utterly miserable. She was rewarded with a curse by a sage Durbasa when at her innocent twelve the hungry former had inclined to have sex with her and had been intelligently refused. This reward was incidentally translated into an act of rape by a god named Sun who was ruthless and was away from compassion when the babe beseeched and beseeched for an escape. The babe did bleed and she had to bleed throughout her whole life from the day when she had to put her new-born son Karna into a small boat to be carried through the water of a rivulet to the day when the same unacknowledged son formidably challenged her official son Arjuna in the devastating battle of Kurukshetro. Yes, Kunti was married to Pandu, a king by chance, who had a curse over his head such that he would surely die if he aimed at copulation ever. And he died young for the same cause and his second wife Madree was responsible for that.
Draupodee, another princess, the princess of Panchala, was won by Arjuna in an arrow-aiming competition and was forced to accept the five brothers of Arjuna as her husband’s. Years elapsed and her love for the hero of the Mahabharata began to dry up and after twelve years she found an occasion to have Arjuna in her bed and by this time cry for a war began to cover the sky. This Draupodee was used as a piece of property when Judhisthira was getting defeated in a gamble of cubes, the grand royal game in an open court.
There are more women in the great epic of the Mahabharata and the life they have lived was full of misery. The greatness of Vedabyasa, the great Indian bard, rests in the fact that he has not hesitated to delineate what he has experienced, yes, in the life he has lived.