Disrobing Draupadi comes easy to us Indians. She was pledged, remember, in a simple game of dice. She was not a material object, , not wealth or riches, yet, she was gambled away because there was nothing else left to stake. What logic! Once you indulge in gambling, you stake your whole life to a couple of infamous die. The die could personify anything today – emotional and physical abuse, adultery, lust, jealousy or just plain selfishness.
Draupadi had to share her life with five men, meaning polyandry. Although not approved of then, men could have many wives! So, Draupadi’s case was rather controversial at that time. Many detested her, calling her a whore while there were many who even envied her! Today, the situation is no different. If a woman is successful both, personally and professionally she is accused of having slept her way up.
Draupadi was molested in full view of the dignitaries seated in court. Her husbands sat dumb as she was being disrobed and the blind king Dhritrashtra decided to stay blind to what was happening. We have many people like him nowadays who prefer to just blank out any kind of injustice from their minds especially when it happens to women. Even when women from their own family are being insulted, these men would rather stay out of all the ‘tamasha.’ Women are molested and humiliated yet they sit unaffected, indifferent to the savagery of it all. There are people like the valiant celibate Bheeshma who pledge their loyalty to the side of the law watching helplessly even as the corrupt, cruel law keepers set the country on fire. A promise stands until it serves the right purpose. Once the very aim of the service is defeated, a promise is broken. Isnt it then time to pause, ponder and take action??
Today, women are being raped and molested at the drop of a pin. In the villages, in towns and in cities, children, little girls and women are being disrobed for lust, for jealousy, for enmity, for god knows what other unjustifiable reason. Mothers watch their children being raped by their fathers. Excuse me for sounding violent but shouldn’t the mother be doing a Bobbitt if not murder? The kind of trauma that children undergo when they are physically violated is just indescribable. Gandhari, the mother of the Kauravas allowed her sons to get away with molestation and cheating. All because she was a mother. Wasn’t she a woman first? But no, she too like her blind husband wanted to close her eyes to any injustice that her children did. God gave her an intellect and eyes to discern and judge right from wrong but she chose to put herself in the illusionary tower of spoilt maternal emotion. No wonder we have spoilt brats even today, who do not even hesitate to lay their villainous hands on just any woman and run their cars over sleeping people on the pavement.
When women can cause such harm, whom do you blame next? Children, (boys or girls) are never born evil. It is their upbringing, the values that turn them into angels or Satans and women form an important part of this all.
Draupadi of Mahabharata represents all that is happening to women today. The Mahabharata would be incomplete without her presence. She was beautiful, valiant and graceful. She was a woman of her times, one who had her very own identity. In spite of being married to one, she shared her life with many. Was that why she had to undergo it all? Or was she just a pawn in the wheel of events? At least then, a woman’s humiliation could eventually provoke a man to take revenge and bring back some sanity in life. Today, insanity is the order of the day. Even while women are being successful, doing the kind of things their ancestors would not have dreamt to do, they are paying a price for being independent. They are in many ways like Draupadi trying to lead a life of their own but are being pushed back and down with chains of restrictions and prejudices being bound around their feet.
People forget that that all human beings are born free. It is society and its stereotype selfish rules that hold them in bondage. Draupadi waged a war to regain her lost respect. She lost a lot in the process but she gained realization about the futility of relationships, about the vulnerability of weakening emotions and about the illusion of life itself. As each part of her sari slipped off her body, she watched the valiant and the righteous fail and fall. It was her heart-felt devotion to God that finally saved her from being stripped, paraded and raped in public. At least, Krishna came to her rescue then (God incarnate or not.). What about the disadvantaged disrobed desh ki mahila today?
Let’s think about it today and every other day. Only then, will the value of a woman be truly realized.