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Friday, 15 June 2018

Give a Character Sketch of Draupadi

The Mahabharata is the longest epic in Indian literature as well as world literature. Besides the narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas  and the pandavas,the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional materials. Draupadi is the heroine of the epic. She is the wife of the five pandava princes in the epic. Arjuna won her at the archery competition; but because of supposed misunderstanding among the five brothers and their mother,she eventually became the wife of all five pandavas.
Character of Draupadi

In Hindu mythology, few women stand out as much as the character of Draupadi. She is an unpredictable and unwavering woman who possesses the austerity of a traditional Hindu wife. Many see Draupadi  as an early feminist because of her fearlessness in admonishing those who harmed her or her family. Draupadi existed in a time when a women's role was to serve her husband.

Draupadi is the woman with her own opinion, and not the one to follow her husbands authority timidly. She speaks for herself. She is conscious about her rights and doesn't falter to point a finger when she sees them violated. She protected when Yudhishtira staked and lost her at the dice game ,while being disrobed by Dussasana and insulted by Duryodhana and Karna,and when all the elders of Hastinapura ramained silent.

The unique relationship between Draupadi and her husbands is what makes her story so exceptional. Draupadi, the wife of the mighty pandava brothers was not a conventional wife,she was smart,bold and would often lead her husbands into action. She ,with her vivacity, challenged the conventional patriarchy.

Draupadi was a very charming woman. There were few women that could compete with the beauty of Draupadi ;all those that met her adored her. Her beauty was so great that she delighted all of the human senses. When Sakuni won her at the dice game ,even Dhritarashtra could not hide his excitement; although he hasn't even seen her. Duryodhana ,Karna and Dussasna always had a lustful eye on her. Draupadi's beauty would gain her much attention, but it is her ability to balance her beauty with the desirable traits of a wife that gain her such devotion.

Her opinions were well respected and supported by her family due to her vast knowledge of many subjects. Unlike many would in her era ,Draupadi was well educated.  Having such a complete education would have given Draupadi a sense of confidence unfamiliar to most women.Her intellect and knowledge did not however hinder her ability to be a dutiful wife. Draupadi was a devoted wife,chaste ,religious minded and adhering  to duty. Her integrity and fidelity were admirable. She was always careful to please her husbands. She was concerned with the common good of all her family and believed that a family functioned best as a whole unit . Draupadi was so devoted to her husbands that she followed them into exile and a life without lavishes 

Draupadi's husbands were the five of the best men of the generation, in terms of glamour, might and handsomeness ;and apart from the incident at the dice game they did their best to protect her. They honoured her and were eager to make her happy. Of course, the relationships she shared with them were not identical; each was special in their own way . She looked up to yudhishtira as somewhat of a naive elderly person;whom she censured often for his ultra righteous notions and for being the root cause of their travails at the wilderness but also loved and respected in a sympathetic manner. Nakula and sahadeva were like young ones of the family needed to be taken care of,and to be sheltered from the adversities of life. Bhima and Arjuna had more important roles . Arjuna was the one who had won her through a competition of the utmost skills of archery, and either for that reason or simply because of his fascinating personality she had a pronounced preference for him. 

Draupadi possessed the desirable traits of many women, and was able to use these traits to influence and control.Draupadi had a great understanding of the balance between being bold and forthright, and being submissive and dutiful. She was fully aware of her identity and never hesitated to remind her husbands that they were the cause of her miseries.And yet she didn't abandon them;and yet she accompanied them during their exile at the forests for 12 years . And when Dhritarashtra wanted to grant her a wish in order to appease her after her insult she asked for the freedom of her husbands; the same husbands who had gambled her away as a mere wealth item moments ago.

Draupadi was dragged into court after yudhistira had lost her in a bet to the Kauravas ,along with all of his wealth and kingdom. Dusssasana,one of the Kaurava brothers, attempts to strip off Draupadi's sari. However ,Draupadi prays to Krishna  whose miracle prevents her sari from running out of layers. Draupadi is humiliated by this and is angered by the pandavas' inability or reluctance to help her. It is her reaction to this abhorrence that we see Draupadi's bravery,as she reprimands those around her in the court . Draupadi had presence of mind and fearlessness even during calamities. She could rebuke and threaten the kauravas, and was bold enough to argue with the members of the assembly. It is Draupadi's reaction to situations like these that set her apart from her husbands; she is often the first to react to any injustices and is a visibly powerful figure often controlling the pandavas

Draupadi is Possessed of ready wit and a clever tongue. Her ability at debate is soon demonstrated when we see that her wit has saved her husbands from impending slavery. The pandavas are inclined to listen to her and frequently rely upon her for decision making.

Draupadi is practical and argumentative. But she is emotional too. She is a woman with human emotions and feelings like anger,love,hate,happiness and grief .Her  life was full of ups and downs and she maintained her dignity in every situation. It is Draupadi's ability to adversity in a venerable manner that sets her apart from other women.

After the incident at the court of the kauravas,Draupadi emerges as a much more powerful character and this is seen in the interactions with her husbands. Draupadi was not a dumb follower of her husbands. She had her own individuality. Though soft speaking, she used harsh words to her husbands and others when necessary.

Draupadi was in many ways equal to her husbands and they desired her respect . Despite the fact that Draupadi eventually forgives her husbands, she is left with a desire for vengeance, and is quick to seek revenge on those who offend her or her family. Although Draupadi was desperate for revange on those who harmed her ,her distinction between right and wrong was rarely clouded and she was often in pursuit of justice. Her moral strength has made her get rid of humiliation by the kauravas. She was saved by the divine intervention due to her moral trait. She is grateful to Krishna, the saviour.

Draupadi's distinction among other women is paramount and well deserved; she was far ahead of her time. It is her ability to use her position with responsibility and insight that show her true power as a woman.Draupadi's fearlessness and uncompromising nature make her of great importance in the history of world literature.

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