Thursday, October 22, 2020
Home Opinions Mahabharat is not only about gambling away Draupadi: An open letter to Kamal Haasan

Mahabharat is not only about gambling away Draupadi: An open letter to Kamal Haasan

Dear Kamal Haasan,

I am a big fan of yours. I was in your support when the controversy around your movie Vishwroopam had arisen and supported your views on Jallikattu too. Not just because I am your fan, but my views were exactly the same as yours were. I hope you are very well aware how the so-called torch bearers of the free speech ditched you on both the occasions.

Recently, you have made some comments about the most celebrated epic of Indian society in general and Hindus in particular. Being a Hindu I don’t find any derogatory or objectionable element in your comment. And unlike those so-called torch bearers of free speech, I am not going to ditch you and I support your right to make those comments.

Those who pretend to be offended by your comments are either ignorant of the complexities of relations offered by the Mahabharata or have some vested political motives. They have lodged complaint against you and the law of the land will decide if they have any valid arguments. Personally, I feel there was no need to bring in legal battle when we can argue based on logic and merits.

My observation about the story in Mahabharat as a whole almost echoes yours. Yes, Yudhishthir without having any authority whatsoever gambled away his wife Draupadi, which was the most inhuman act of him. Even Draupadi questioned the authority of her husband over her by asking how could he, having lost himself first, put her on stake. None in the assembly including Dharmaraj could answer her.

But I have a little disagreement with you when you say that Indian society honours a book which narrates the story of a gambler who gambled away his wife. And then you go on to link that with status of women in the Indian society. That is unfair.

Yes, we do honour the Mahabharat as the greatest epic of the Hindu society. But as far as I know the Mahabharat isn’t a holy book for Hindus like there are holy books for Abrahamic religions.

Bhagavad Gita, essentially a part of the great epic Mahabharat, is considered sacred, and perhaps, you are confused between Mahabharat and Bhagavad Gita. In fact, I have heard from our elders that many people didn’t keep Mahabharat in our in-house library, as it is believed, the story can ignite the fight in the family!

Moreover, Mahabharat is not only about gambling but about almost every aspect of human life, be it morally good or bad. Gambling is merely a part of it. Mahabharat is all about the action and its consequences faced by almost every major characters in the epic. Even the most celebrated and honoured character Sri Krishna wasn’t spared. He also had to accept the curse of Gandhari. It’s interesting to know that Krishna had the power to undo the curse but he didn’t.

Yudhishthir, the gambler according to you, with his brothers ultimately paid the price of having uncontrollable love affair with the gambling. Draupadi too lost her all the sons because of her supposed lust for war and revenge. You can find almost every character in the epic facing the consequences of his/her own actions at some point or other. This is story about Karma.

Even the Brahmins, the most pious soul considered in Hindu society at that time, weren’t spared and got punished, be it Dronacharya or Ashvatthama. In a way, Mahabharata challenges the supremacy of Brahmins, as Dronacharya suffers the consequences of his actions, which includes discrimination against students of “lower castes” like Karna and Eklavya.

Yes, we do honour Mahabharata, but at the same time we don’t honour Yudhishthira gambling away his own wife. We honour the complexities of the human relationships and the human psychology, very effectively depicted in the epic. We honour the concept of Karma, that we will have to face consequences of our actions. That we will be doomed if we treat women like possessions to be lost in gambling.

Mahabharat has no hero and no villain unlike the western epics, but it is the situation, waved around the characters, which made them acted like hero or villain.

In that sense, Mahabharata is more modern than some of the modern literary works. Mahabharata has the courage to absorb all the criticism against itself as well as its characters including even Sri Krishna. It doesn’t shy away from talking about the harsh realities of the human’s behaviour, relationship, strength and weaknesses. The way it challenges the moral standards of the society, is incomparable. It, literally, redefined the morality of the society, be it sexual or non-sexual.

Dear Kamal Haasan, we don’t honour Yudhishthira gambling away his brothers and his wife but the narrator’s honesty which invites the constructive criticism, is what we honour.

I understand that you have your own views about the epic which doesn’t necessarily match with everyone, but I hope you understand the complexities of the epic and pass your judgement on the basis of thorough understanding of the story, and not on the basis of a part of the story.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

arun rai
"At least allow a loud silence to absorb all the noises." Occasional poet , only for personal pleasure. Post Graduate in Literature. There is no better teacher for you than yourself and no better method than self-study. It takes only yourself out of you. A proud Hindu, have a centre to right attitude, hate dynasty politics, democratisation of the Indian society is the ultimate aim.

Related Articles

Trending now

Punjab’s new Agriculture Laws are hogwash meant to fool gullible farmers, violates the constitution: Read how

The Essential Commodities Act passed by the Punjab govt contravenes the constitution, adds opacity and infringes on the centre

How do Customs officials remove gold concealed in the rectum of smugglers? Things you never thought you’d want to know

Customs officials convince the smugglers to eject the gold from their rectum, or extract with the help of doctors

21 October 1943: Netaji Subhash had formed the Azad Hind Government, India’s ‘declaration of independence’

On October 21, 1943, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose announced the formation of the 'Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind' or the provincial government of free India in Singapore and had declared war on the British Empire.

No, going to Dubai to buy the new iPhone 12 Pro is not cheaper than buying in India. Here is how

Dhruv Rathee criticised the 'Indian Tax System' by claiming that travelling to Dubai for buying an iPhone 12 Pro is cheaper than getting it from India.

Is somebody paying the “experts” to spread spurious narratives on Atmanirbhar Bharat?

A more self-reliant India, with a bigger industrial base, with lesser trade deficits was the need of the hour. Who could object?

Rahul Gandhi to help PFI member and Kerala-based ‘journalist’ Siddique Kappan who is accused of attempting to instigate violence in UP

The Congress leader met a delegation at Malappuram, Kerala on Monday and promised them to look into the issue of the arrest of 'journalist' Siddique Kappan.

Recently Popular

UK: 37-year-old paedophile named Rehan Baig jailed for raping chickens to death while his wife filmed it

Rhan Baig's wife had also joined him in the videos and at one point he alternated between having sex with his wife and the chickens.

Anti-Trump legal analyst of CNN and The New Yorker contributor suspended after masturbating on Zoom call

Jeffrey Toobin has offered an apology for masturbating on the Zoom video call and said that he thought he had put the video and audio on mute.

‘Comedian’ Agrima Joshua, who calls herself ‘feminist’, passes offensive sexual comments against woman due to political differences

Agrima Joshua had earlier found herself in a controversy after insulting the Shivaji Maharaj memorial during a performance.

During 26/11 Mumbai attack, Param Bir Singh refused to be on ground and take on terrorists, then Mumbai CP Hasan Gafoor had said

Hasan Gafoor, who was the Mumbai Commissioner of Police during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had accused senior police officials, including Param Bir Singh of not taking on the terrorists.

Hyderabad: Hindu woman confronts boyfriend Syed Mustafa over marriage promises, stabbed to death by him and his brother

24-year-old Hindu woman was brutally stabbed to death by her lover Syed Mustafa and his brother on Saturday night at Rein Bazar neighbourhood of Hyderabad

Caught on camera: NCP’s Nawab Malik ‘predicts’ Arnab will commit suicide as he will be ‘trapped’ in TRP case

Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik insists that though the BARC letter clears Republic TV's name, the police investigation 'will find evidence' against Arnab.
- Advertisement -

Another contempt case? Prashant Bhushan targets CJI Bobde again, links his home visit during holidays with Madhya Pradesh MLA disqualification case

CJI is eligible for state arranged transport during visits to states, but Prashant Bhushan alleged CJI Bobde of taking favors from MP govt

Shahabuddin was a powerful ‘pawn’ under Lalu-led government in Bihar: Read how he dominated Siwan during the jungle raj

Shahabuddin was fearless because of the backing he got from Lalu Yadav, and in return, he made sure Lalu got votes in the elections

Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray government blocks CBI from investigating cases in the state, withdraws general consent

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday passed an order withdrawing its consent for the CBI to probe cases in the state

Punjab’s new Agriculture Laws are hogwash meant to fool gullible farmers, violates the constitution: Read how

The Essential Commodities Act passed by the Punjab govt contravenes the constitution, adds opacity and infringes on the centre

Paris: Two Muslim women stabbed under Eiffel Tower by white women shouting “dirty Arabs”

Two Muslim women were stabbed repeatedly under the Eiffel Tower on Sunday night by two white women who called them "dirty Arabs".

How do Customs officials remove gold concealed in the rectum of smugglers? Things you never thought you’d want to know

Customs officials convince the smugglers to eject the gold from their rectum, or extract with the help of doctors

Fake news peddler Prashant Kanojia granted bail by Allahabad High Court

Kanojia was also arrested last year for postin derogatory tweets aimed at spreading hatred.

Youth Congress chief spreads misinformation about Modi govt’s Bihar package, distorts statement of BJP chief JP Nadda

Youth Congress chief uses only a part of speech of JP Nadda to spread misinformation about Modi govt’s Bihar package

21 October 1943: Netaji Subhash had formed the Azad Hind Government, India’s ‘declaration of independence’

On October 21, 1943, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose announced the formation of the 'Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind' or the provincial government of free India in Singapore and had declared war on the British Empire.

China fines dairy company for ‘incorrect’ map of its territory in an advertisement, the company issues apology

China penalised Bright Dairy and Food for not showing 'complete and correct territory' of the country, which is a violation of laws

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
465,741FollowersFollow
18,800SubscribersSubscribe