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Draupadi: Would you orchestrate a genocide to hurt those who outrage your modesty?

Updated: Feb 27, 2022


Blog #12

  • Are you in favor of women's right to choose?

  • Can you support a woman's right to have her voice heard?

  • Will you stand behind the women in your lives?

  • Will you put your wife's needs ahead of yours?

  • Are you glad we have women who stand up for what's right?

  • Are you afraid of powerful women in positions of power?

Mahabharata Context:

Queen Draupadi was a divine gift to King Drupad of Panchal emerging from a holy fire during a worship ceremony. She was the most beautiful woman of her time with her beautiful long hair and lotus eyes. Princess Draupadi's swayamvar attracted suitors from all corners of the globe including Duryodhana, Karna, Jayadratha and the Pandavas, disguised as brahmins. Princess Draupadi insults King Karna's charioteer parents and refuses him the right to compete for her. Prince Arjuna then wins the competition, her hand and her love. Queen Kunti unwittingly asks the five brothers to share their rewards from the contest creating a polyandric relationship between Draupadi and the Pandavas much to the scorn and ridicule of the Kauravas. Draupadi also enrages Duryodhana when he visits her magnificent Indraprastha palace as her guest further eroding her relationship with her brother-in-law.

Draupadi's is verbally abused by Duryodhana and Karna in front of the august Kaurava court and Prince Dushasana's physical abuse and attempted disrobing of her is miraculously stopped by Lord Krishna himself. Her outrage and tears leads to Prince Bheema furious oath of vengeance on Duryodhana and Dushasana. Draupadi holds the court elders like Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, Duryodhana, Karna and her own spouses accountable for the outrage. She refuses to tie her long hair unless justice is meted out to the criminals. At the end of the fierce battle, Draupadi has her retribution and justice is meted out to those who violated her dignity and honor. Most of the folks who witnessed this travesty of justice are dead and she becomes the Empress of the new, just Hastinapur in a victory for honorable women everywhere.

The null hypothesis behind the Draupadi persona:

After so many centuries of civilization, women still suffer from objectification, abuse and disrespect from men. Nowhere has a bigger price been paid to repay the debt to a woman than in the epic of the Mahabharata. As the lead female character in the Mahabharata, Draupadi has a huge influence on the story and the war itself is not just about good versus evil but also delivering harsh punishment to those who would violate a woman's honor and dignity.She was never a meek woman needing to be rescued, but rather a fierce, defiant warrior who calls out outrageous behavior when she sees it, holding folks accountable for their actions.

Her character is full of beauty, bravery, faith, strength and grace under fire. And still she is a character that evokes fear due to her justified outrage which was lethal to those who outraged her modesty. Her character also shows forgiveness and patience in that she stops before she curses the Kauravas due to the fervent pleas of a distraught Queen Gandhari.

Lessons Learned:

The timeless lesson is that of treating the women in our lives with unconditional respect. Our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and wife are all priceless jewels in our life and deserve nothing less from us. The Mahabharata teaches us that protecting the dignity and status of our wife is the thing that honorable men do. Do we treat our spouses as equal partners like she did? What % Draupadi are you?

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