Women's Characters In The Epic Of The Mahabharata

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Introduction It is said, “Whatever is here is found else where. But whatever is not here is nowhere else.” These lines are said for the great epic of India The Mahabharata. The name means “great Bharatas.” Bharata was an early ancestor of both the Pandavas and Kauravas, who fought each other in a great war, but the word is also used for the Indian race, so the Mahabharata Sometimes is referred to as the great story of India. The portrayals of women Characters in this epic were left unsatisfied. It wasn’t as though the epic didn’t have powerful, complex women Characters that affected the action in major ways; for instance, there was the widowed Kunti, mother of Pandavas, who dedicates her life to making sure her sons become kings. There was Gandhari, wife of the sightless Kaurava king, who chooses to blindfold her in marriage, thus relinquishing her power as queen and mother. And most of all, there was Panchali, king Drupad’s beautiful daughter, who has the unique distinction of being married to five men at the same time-the five Pandava brothers, the greatest heroes of their time. Panchaali who, some might argue, by her headstrong actions helps to bring about the destruction of the third Age of man. But in some way, they remained shadowy figures, their thoughts and motives mysterious, their emotions portrayed only when they affected the lives of the male heroes, their roles ultimately subservient to those of their fathers or husbands, brothers or sons. Relevant to today’s
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