Dhritarashtra Analysis

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Discussion The study aimed to understand and assess the nature of disability, as portrayed in Hindu mythology with the exemplar stories of Dhritarashtra, Ashtavakra, Gandhari, and Manthara. Through the thematic analysis of the texts, the following broad themes emerged: Dhritarashtra. The theme ‘Is it my fault I am sightless?: Unfair treatment’ explored the unfair treatment meted out to Dhritarashtra because of his disability. He was always considered to be less worthy than his brother simply because he was disabled. Such was the prejudice against a disabled king that they chose to make an impotent man the king instead of a disabled man. Dhritarashtra grapples to understand what about his disability is so disturbing that he cannot be made king. He says, “I was cursed with blindness, so I did not deserve the throne, even though I was the firstborn, they said”. The second theme that emerged was ‘Making of a figure of pity and a dependent fool’, which very slightly conveys a grim subtext in mythological accounts of disability: that a disabled person has to be extraordinary to earn basic respect. According to Gabel’s (1998) aesthetic theory of disability, “the disabled body interacts within a social environment but identity itself starts with the body: what the body does, how the…show more content…
The first theme that emerged was ‘Chosen disability: love and affection’. Most of the narratives about Gandhari focus on her love and respect for her husband. These narratives suggest that she blindfolded herself as she did not wish to have the gift of sight which her husband was deprived of. Neelakantan (2015) wrote that Gandhari was “the pativrata who had refused the light denied to her blind husband”. This equates Gandhari to the perfect wife – a Sati. This is particularly important as Gandhari is often said to be the perfect wife. Her sacrifice is considered to be a penance which grants Gandhari magical powers – powers she has achieved because of her piety towards her

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