This post has literally been in my draft list for about 4 months now. Everytime I begin to write, the characters come to life and begin an argument that seems to never end. It all started when I read 17 Fascinating women from Mahabharata by Sharath Komarraju. Fueled and thoughts added from another book, When Women Speak Up by Women’s Web, I wondered, what would have happened if the Women in Mahabharatha had Spoken Out.
Gandhari – The Mother & Wife
The virtuous Gandhari, who gave up her sight to stand as an equal to her husband Dhritarasthra-the blind king. A wife who chose to not see the world because her husband couldn’t, also seems to have chosen not to look at the wrong doings of her children. Had Gandhari spoken up to make her children understand the right and wrong, love over jealousy, urging the kids to live alongside their cousins, would the story be different? I don’t blame just her, but also the father equally!
Hearing the cries of Draupadi being gambled away, the queen of Hastinapur would have felt shame, hurt and the insufferable fate of another woman. What if she had spoken up then and stopped the foolish men from a horrendous act? She had the power, the right as a mother, an influence as a wife, as a queen and yet all there was silence.
Could Gandhari have changed the course of the Mahabharatha?
Draupadi – The Wife
The loving daughter of Drupad and a godly child born out of fire, who fell in love with Arjuna. Yes the purpose of her life maybe determined but the direction in which everything went could have been different. I have always wondered, why didn’t she speak up and say ‘No’ to marrying the other 4 brothers? Did you want it or was she being the good Indian bride who listens to her mother in law? It frustrates me as to know, she did not have a say.
Even on the day she was dragged to the court, she cursed, shouted and yet no man or woman came to her rescue. Did she show her anger, shout at the so called husbands who had failed her? Why didn’t she speak up and refuse to go in exile with the men, who did nothing to keep her honor and respect? Husbands who had the audacity to stake her in a game of dice, like she was a commodity they owned? She should have spoken up, shunned to be with men who does not respect her. What are these men who act to be honest, virtuous, good men who did not have the balls to stand up?
If Draupadi had refused to marry the rest of the brothers, shunned her husbands for staking her in a game, would the story of Mahabharata be different?
Kunti – The Girl, Wife and the Mother
Kunti is the root cause of Mahabharata I would say. Not Draupadi, who is very often said to be the woman who set men on war. It was Kunti all along. Am not bringing another theory in here, but saying what if Kunti had spoken out, everything would have been different.
Right from the time she had Karna and abandoned him. She could have claimed him when she found him again. She was a window then, had 5 sons to take care of, why not claim the eldest one? Honor meant a lot more than being a mother I guess. Yes I understand that she could not have accepted the child unmarried, but after years of toiling and being a widow, why was it hard?
Kunti is given as an example of being the ideal mother and her children who listened to her without a second thought. Why then didn’t she speak up and accept her confusion when she unknowingly told her children to share Draupadi? She could have told her children, she misunderstood and they should not be sharing a wife. She did not speak up at all.
While her son Yudhishtira gambled away the kingdom, his brothers and the wife, this mother who could have stalled it, did not. All she had to do was order them to stop and am sure they would have. Why was she silent then?
Could Kunti have changed the fate of millions in Mahabharatha?
If Women in Mahabharatha had Spoken Out
Yes, even if one had chosen to speak up, the story would definitely be different. Did women in Mahabharatha not have a voice? Definitely not the case, they very much did. But it was on them when they used it. When Gandhari in grief of loosing all her sons, spoke up and cursed Krishna for the destruction of his clan. It happened! When Draupadi distressed from humiliation spoke up, refusing to tie her hair until drenched in Dusshana’s blood, her wish was duly fulfilled. When Kunti spoke up and told Karna of his birth, requesting him to not kill his brothers, he did.
What may have happened if these women in Mahabharatha had used their voices before? Could good still have driven evil away but without a war?
Don’t feel that am blaming the women too, am blaming each one of the characters who kept silent and played a role in this wheel of fortune to lead to the Mahabharatha war!
What do you think of the Women in Mahabharatha? Share your thoughts in the comment section.