High five for Draupadi - Times of India
They trusted you fully as Apadhbhandava (protector from all difficulties). he betted Draupadi (who always brought good fortune to Pandavas). Sita enjoys a much greater socio-cultural appreciation than Draupadi for presenting a normative .. Even the rationale of her marriage to the five Pandavas is traced back to it. Ray's . didn't trust him completely‖ (Divakaruni 6 ). Although. () The unique relationship between Draupadi and her husbands is what Draupadi is humiliated by this and is angered by the Pandavas of Draupadi at the court, or possibly because they truly trust in her decisions.
Did she have preferences? Nakula was the handsomest but Bhima was the most passionate and Arjuna,he was skilled but insecure. Women writers who write on Draupadi flirt with the possibilities but only at a psychological level.
The novel was chosen for a Sahitya Akademi award. Not surprisingly this has led to outrage and protests calling for the book to be banned. The RSS newspaper,Organiser,said that the author had taken undue licence with Draupadi's character and was guilty of "semi porn and derision". One hears of co-wives fighting over their husband's affection. Did the husbands fight over Draupadi? The epic does not explicitly discuss this,but the possibility of jealously tearing the brothers apart is repeatedly alluded to.
The sage Narada warns the Pandava brothers of conflict that can destroy their bond. Narada suggests that they make careful bedroom arrangements to allow equal and exclusive access to each husband for a limited period of time. Any brother who enters her chamber when she is with another husband will have to perform penance.
Arjuna does stumble in once while she is in the arms of Yudhishtira and so has to go on a pilgrimage to atone. During this 'pilgrimage', he ends up with three more wives. Every brother has exclusive rights to Draupadi's chamber for a year, and then has to wait for four years for the next turn. Why one whole year? Perhaps because it gave Draupadi enough time to bear a child for that husband without any paternity issues.
She bore each of her husbands a son. Before she moves to the next husband,Draupadi walks through fire to regain her virginity and purity. Such rules were never placed before polygamous husbands. But Draupadi had a rule of her own for her husbands. She makes it very clear to her husbands that they cannot bring any other wife into the same house.
Thus all the Pandavas have other wives, but these wives stay with their parents and the Pandavas have to travel out of the city to visit their other wives in the four years that Draupadi is intimate with the other brothers.
The only exception is made for Krishna's sister, Subhadra, who marries Arjuna. In a dialogue with Krishna's wife, Satyabhama,Draupadi explains how she serves her husbands, satisfies their needs and makes herself indispensable, and loved.
Draupadi comes across as a practical woman who knows she has to work to ensure all her husbands love her and do not feel she favours any one of them. Stories are told of how Draupadi came to have five husbands.
Explanations are needed for a culture desperate to explain such a discomforting practice. One story goes that in her past life she was a sage's wife; her insatiable sexual appetite led him to curse her that in her next life she would have five husbands. Another story tells us that she asked Shiva for a husband who was noble and strong, skilled with the bow, handsome and wise.
Since no single man could possess all five traits, Shiva gave her five husbands, each with one trait. Together with his brother's friend Karna and maternal uncle called the Pandavas to a place called Hastinapura to play a game of dice.
Shakuni was skilled at winning by unfair means.
The plan was that Shakuni would play against Yudhishthira and win the game, since it was impossible to win at the battlefield.
The game of dice began and Yudhishthira gradually lost all his wealth and kingdom in the stakes. He went on to put each of his brothers at stake and lost them too. Ultimately he put himself at stake and lost again. All the Pandavas were now the dasas servants of Kauravas. But Shakuni told Yudhishthira that he had not lost all yet, that he still had Draupadi with him.
He also told him that he could try and win it all back by putting Draupadi at stake. To the shock of all present there, Yudhishthira put Draupadi as a bet for the next round. Shakuni won this round too and Duryodhana commanded his younger brother Dushasana to present Draupadi at the forum.
Dushasana barged into Draupadi's living quarters. She was clad merely in one piece of attire and was menstruating. She begged him not to take her to the sabha court filled with dignitaries.
But Dushasana grabbed her by the hair and presented her into the court. Draupadi's disrobing Draupadi repeatedly questioned the right of Yudhishthira to place her at stake when he himself has lost his freedom in the first place. No one could give her answer. Then to the horror of everybody present Duryodhana ordered his brother to strip Draupadi of her sari. Dushasana proceeded to obey the order and starts disrobing Draupadi.
On the realization that her husbands were unable and unwilling to come to her rescue, Draupadi started praying to Krishna to protect her. Krishna answered her prayer and a miracle occurred in front of everyone's eyes. Instead of being stripped naked, Draupadi's sari kept getting extended as Dushasana unwrapped layers and layers of it. In the meantime, Draupadi was lost in prayer and was oblivious of her surroundings.
Finally, an exhausted Dushasana gave up his effort and fell to the ground. This way, Draupadi was protected from being humiliated in front of the entire congregation. Subversion as a theoretical framework The Feminist theory of subversion will be employed in the article to further the discussion. Subversion is the act of undermining patriarchal institutions.
To subvert something is to take oppressive forces and turn them into something that challenges the oppressor. Feminist scholarship MukherjeeChaudharyChakravorty unitedly refer to the experiences of Draupadi, especially the disrobing incident, as an illustration of the ways in which such a discourse has constructed and perpetrated the idea of the woman's body being the site on which male hegemonic structures operate.
Since a woman's honour is presumed to reside in her violated body, its violation through public stripping means that she loses the honour both of herself as an individual, as well as a group family or even the nation which she belongs.
Subversion becomes apparent because first of all polyandry maybe seen as a subversion of patriarchal norm of a patriarchal society; although she is very uncomfortable she gives her consent thinking of a great good Mukherjee In Mahabharata Draupadi's disrobing is a culmination of dishonouring of the Pandavas. Her acts upset the oppressors' carefully laid plans for her subjugation.
By refusing to acknowledge her 'dishonour' she also refuses to acknowledge their 'manhood'. Her resistance lies in subverting the whole construct of equating feminine honour and purity with an inviolate body. Draupadi articulates the narrative of resistance on many levels, and therefore she becomes no only powerful but also complex. She achieves a subversion of a mythical Draupadi story while at the same time endangering the stabilities of the gender hegemonies.
She resists her oppressor through defiance, anger and courage because she has suffered outrageous attacks on her body and spirit.
Strange Relationship Between Draupadi and Pandavas | Victoria Club Hotel
She becomes a feminist figure because she is able to subvert the objectification and commodification of women in society. It is her stri-shakti power of woman which is manifested when she comes out unscathed during the disrobing episode. Draupadi raises her voice against extreme torture and atrocities inflicted on her, such that at the end she redefines herself. She refuses to remain the object of male narrative, but asserts herself as 'subject' and emphasises the truth her own presence and constructs a meaning.
Through subversion she becomes that which resists 'counter' male knowledge, power and glory. By so doing Draupadi rejects the binary structures of patriarchal discourses of the political social and ideological forces of the society, hence subverting commodification in the society and foregoing her identity as a human, not a commodity. Reading Draupadi's narrative as a paragon of gender and resistance Draupadi is one of the most celebrated heroines of Indian epic Mahabharata, 4 which together with Ramayana 5 are cultural credential of the so-called Aryan Civilization.
Sita, not Draupadi, is one of the best known examples of a Goddess being held up as a paradigm for women in a culture obsessed with marriage, in which 'she is presented as the role model of the ideal, selfless, submissive wife pativrata who is expected to remain faithful and devoted to her husband, no matter how badly she is treated' Kinsley, This article maintains however that Draupadi should also be given the same prominence accorded to Sita, despite being married to five husbands.
Whereas Sita maintains her silence when ill-treated by her husband, Draupadi does not. She is vocal and laments the despicable treatment she gets from the males in the story. She had grown up to be an aggressive woman who spoke her mind in a world where women would silently suffer than speak. Draupadi, therefore is a force to be reckoned because: If Mahabharata is an intricately women saga of hatred and love, bloodshed and noble thoughts, beauty and gentleness, victory and defeat, then Draupadi is its shining jewel, casting the shadow of her towering personality over the epic poem and the all destroying war described Das Preeti Chaudhary describes Draupadi as "not a human She has firm determination and unbending will, making her "proud and angry heroine of the epic Mahabharata who has remained an enigmatic woman of substance" Chaudhary Therefore Draupadi becomes an image of empowering women because of her strong will power, brilliant intellectuality and pride which mark her as a dignified woman different from other women like Sita who expressed softer feminine qualities.
It must be noted that there are few women in Hindu mythology who were aggressive and who spoke their mind in a world of men. Draupadi was one of those few. That is why she is considered by many as the first feminist of Indian mythology because of her resilience, and nonconformity to male dominated religious hierarchy Ganguli Her unpopularity, therefore has to do with the fact that her image does not encourage women to conform to the requirements of an Indian patriarchal society.
Subsequently, Draupadi becomes a paragon of gender and resistance. It is worth noting that while polyandry was pretty much accepted during the time of Mahabharata, it was regarded with much censure in the era of the epic. Hence Draupadi was much looked-down-upon for having married the five Pandava brothers. In fact, Karna during the game of dice had addressed her as veshya or prostitute for having several husbands. She was neither the perpetrator of this social transgression nor did she enter into a polyandrous contract of her own accord.
She had given her heart to the noble Arjuna at her swayamvara marriage by self-choice. The intricate web of polyandry that she got entangled in, had been bestowed upon her by destiny. There is no reason, whatsoever to thrust the fault of transgression on her. Incidentally, though the matter of polyandry was so controversial, Draupadi is also regarded as one of the five srestha or the most chaste Naris. This in itself is an anomaly and cannot be properly explained.
Draupadi within the patriarchal context The portrayal of Draupadi in the epic leaves so much to be desired that is why she is conceived by most as insignificant. However, it worth noting that Draupadi can be seen as an unsung heroine of the epics. Notwithstanding, there are women characters in both Ramayana and Mahabharata who have not been given platform to exist independently. Chitra Banerjee echoes that sentiment very well by lamenting about 'powerful women' in the epics who have remained shadowy figures, and whatever their thoughts and emotions are seen as inexplicable.
These women are only brought to the fore when they concede with the lives of the male heroes, ultimately rendering their roles as subservient to those of their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. In addition, within a masculine and patronymic context, Draupadi is exceptional, indeed single in the sense of cold, unpaired and detached. She provides the occasion for the violent transaction between men, the efficient cause of the crucial battle Spivak Her eldest husband is about to lose her by default in the game of dice.
He had staked all he owned and Draupadi belonged within that all Mah. Furthermore, even though Draupadi is strong, spirited and an outspoken woman she is still very faithful to the five brothers. Alleyn Diesel compares her to Helen of Troy where she is "regarded by many men as a prize, valuable object to be competed for and squabbled over, and she becomes the central reason for internecine conflict, which brings disorder adharma and devastation to society" Diesel By the same token, Draupadi's strange civil status seems to offer grounds for her predicament and non-recognition as well.
Since "the scripture prescribed one husband for a woman, Draupadi is dependent on many husbands, she can be designated as 'a prostitute'. Therefore, there is nothing improper in bringing her clothed or unclothed into the assembly' Mah. In the epic Draupadi's legitimized pluralisation as a wife among husbands in singularity as a possible mother or harlot is used to demonstrate male glory. Karna for instance, publicly called Draupadi a whore for being a wife of five men.
Despite all these horrific experiences, Draupadi is not in the least deterred by the harsh treatment she receives from the males in the story. If anything these experiences of ill-treatment empower her, hence driving her to be even stronger and resilient. She continues to display her individuality, strength and unyielding determination for both justice and vengeance, hence becoming an empowering character.
Throughout her life Draupadi had to undergo humiliation, abuse and deprivation. Though unjustly treated and hence a very angry woman, Draupadi draws from her purity, gained over male intimidation and violence, and thus brought healing to communities.
These "translate the ultimate victor of women's strength" Diesel This does not deter Draupadi to be resilient as she continued to resist male dominance. The resilience is discussed under the themes below: The mother without knowing instructs the brothers to share amongst them equally. There is no doubt that there seems to be total ownership over Draupadi as a daughter-in-law, a wife and a mother.
Understanding Draupadi as a paragon of gender and resistance
This is evident in the way even though some might argue that Kunti was not aware that her sons had brought Draupadi that she innocently assumed it was the usual alms her sons brought daily to the homestead. Even so there is no justification as to why the sons decided to follow their mother's instruction without questioning it.
The answer is obvious. Draupadi does not have a say in the whole saga simply because she is viewed as a possession. Hence the sons did not see the need to alert their mother that this time around they had brought somewhat different alms to be shared equally. Consequently, Draupadi becomes a possession of five husbands even though she had chosen her real husband during the swayamvara. One cannot but wonder what the purpose of the swayamvara was if at the end of the day it is not taken into consideration.
Actually the swayamvara is also doubtful in the way it was conducted. In a proper swayamvara, the kanya daughter gets to choose her husband by herself, yet in the case of Draupadi the father King Draupada arranges the swayamvara because he wants Arjuna his choice to come out of his hiding. It is worth noting that matters affecting women directly are never shared with them or any consent given. Significantly, Draupadi questions their behaviour: Is she an object that can be gambled?
The fact that Draupadi has been given to the five brothers by their mother makes her their property, hence she can be gambled. Draupadi further questions the dharma religious duty of the kings especially those present in the assembly. Her words are not just a plea of a humiliated and helpless woman, but a challenge to the knowledge of right and wrong of the kings. By questioning the behaviour of her husband as well as the dignitaries present, Draupadi is challenging the normative, something which was unheard of during the time of the Mahabharata.
In other words she was disrupting the order reigning in the Sabha court because she was rebelling against the norm, hence the subversion. This was a step unimaginable for a woman of her time and setting. By being in the company of five husbands, Draupadi becomes a possession, yet the expectation is that she should be a pativrata an ideal wife. Let it be made clear that polyandry was not an alien concept in ancient India because it has been mentioned even in the Vedas Neelakantan Although the practice has been alluded to in the Vedas, the Kama Sutra 6 as well as the sutras 7 and smritis 8it is not confined to Hinduism, it was also found in Jain and Buddhist texts confirming that it was not a foreign practice at the time Singh Aarathi Ganesan is quick to point out that simply "mentioning the practice is not analogous to its actual practice in Indian society," for the same reasons that its occurrence "in the Mahabharata is almost innocently incidental and most importantly singular" Ganesan She is to be a submissive wife and a mother.
By maintaining her silence until a point when she is pushed to a corner, Draupadi is actually upholding not only her honour but that of her family and her community as well.
Failure to honour might incur repercussion as a pativrata. On relationship with her husbands, Bhawalkar She had her own individuality. Though soft speaking she used harsh words to her husbands and others when necessary".