Sunday, August 25, 2013

Suyodhana Uvacha

Vermillion. Rust. Flame. Garnet. Ruby. Crimson. Wine. Red. Blood red. The horizon is a calico of shades of red mirroring the war field of Kurukshetra. The Great War is over and done. The just and the brave have won. After years of suppression and tyranny the people of Hastinapura will wake to a new morning – a precursor to a new world, a world of rights and no wrongs. A land of equality, justice and happiness. A land ruled by sons of Pandu; the Pandavas! Yet this sunset is far from beautiful, far from enjoyable.

         Vultures sweep down in hordes and their cries fill the otherwise silent war field. The faint distant laments over the loved ones slowly drift over the lifeless bodies. The stink of carrions hangs in the listless air. And Suyodhana? “Who Suyodhana?” One might ask brows knitted in confusions as the brain searches in vain for a face.

Suyodhana, the first-born of the blind regent king Dhritharashtra of Hastinapura and Queen Gandhari, Princess of Gandhar!  Now we remember, lips curling in much distaste, about the wayward son of Kurus, scion of Kauravas!

Born to a regent king, forever shadowed by his glorious cousins who never even seemed to pause before they stole the limelight at each opportunity, Suyodhana would’ve unquestionably made it to the Hall Of Fame for the overlooked princes; if one existed. Ah! The vagaries of life! Born to riches, brought up amidst pomp and splendor, Suyodhana earnestly believed in his right to be the crown prince and future king of Hastinapura! Alas! Life dealt him an unfavorable hand leaving him to a dastardly death, which was now taking its sweet time to arrive and embrace him. Suyodhana lay half dead, half awake. Unhinged yet aware, life force ebbing away, slowly. Hallucinating.

Courtesy:Artist Namboodiri
         Suyodhana sighed. He could no longer feel his arm or legs. For that matter he could barely move his torso. He knew he was dying. He had accepted his fate with much grace unlike Bhima who chose to trick him into his downfall. That was Bhima’s karma and Suyodhana had already forgiven Bhima. At the face of death people behave very differently. In spite of his weariness, Suyodhana saw very clearly two people walking towards him. Two people he loved and who loved him unconditionally.

“O Bhanumathi, my beloved Bhanu! Love my life, the light of my eyes that was doused too soon. How I had rejoiced at the prediction of that vagabond astrologer Brahmin! He had predicted the death of the puthra-vadu of Kuruvamsa and the future ruler of Hastinapura before the new moon! I knew my mercenaries would finish off Princess Draupadi and Prince Dharmaputra! Little did I know that along with you Bhanu, puthra-vadu of Kuruvamsa I was going to lose our unborn son on that wretched Amavasi! Our son, Bhanu, could’ve been a king! A King! Our son Bhanu! Our son! “ Suyodhana let Bhanumati wipe away the uncontrollable tears he had held for years. He watched Karna sit down at his feet.

“Oh Karna, is that you my bosom friend? How resplendent you look in your golden armor. Just like a radiant sun! ” Suyodhana smiled sadly.
“Karna, you fought for me, died for me. You were one of the Pandavas yet you chose to be by my side. You chose me over your family.  If you listened to Krishna and joined the Pandavas, you could’ve been the king of Hastinapura. You could’ve rule over Bharat with the beautiful daughter of Drupad by your side and your able counsel of brothers standing around you, heads bowed in respect, awaiting your orders!

“Karna, Karna, stop smiling at me like that. And stop shaking your head in playful reproach! I know you couldn’t, or should I say wouldn’t, have made a different choice. You fought your brothers for me. The entire world knows that but for your presence in the Kaurava camp the 18-day war would’ve ended in 8 days. No, for me the war would’ve been over even before it started if you had left me to join the Pandavas!

Suyodhana laughed out aloud coughing up spittle of blood, “ Oh Karna, you are one of a kind I must say. To stand by a friend when the entire world divided their allegiances based on obligations and Dharma, you chose me because I was your friend. When kings and warriors fought for Hastinapura you alone fought for this Suyodhana!“

Shaking his head, Suyodhana continued, “ Friendship over bloodlines! Friendship over Dharma! Friendship over every single dictate of the world! These noble follies to this wretched world, my friend, are singularly your contributions! You are the first one in the history of time to commit them and undoubtedly the last one too! ”

“Bhanu, do you remember the day of our graduation from Guru Dronacharya’s academy? Off course you don’t! I didn’t even know of your existence then. Surely you remember the stories I have told you about out Gurukul days and the graduation ceremony.”

Suyodhana closed his eyes reminiscing, blood rushing to his pale face at the memory of his beloved friend’s public humiliation!


  1. WOW !! waiting for continuation...

  2. nice one.. waiting for the next part. I also think the stories are written by Victors or their cronies always , and that leads to all the losers being show cased as evil . You can see that in Deva- Asura war and a lot of our puranas. Duryodhana had a lot of good in him. But I'm unfamiliar with the story of Bhanumati (I know she is his wife)? What was it? How did she die?

    1. Thank you Sunitha. I am glad you liked it.

      I guess everyone likes black and white.Good and bad.It's easy to explain to kids that way.That way you don't need to explain Karna born out of wedlock and stuff like that. Didn't anyone bother moral policing then?

      About Bhanumati.There is one version in which she dies at childbirth while Duryodhana was plotting the death of Panchali and Bhima. And apparently Duryodhana was also plotting to marry her sister Balandhara/Jalandhara who eventually fell in love with Bhima and married him.

      In another version she is hale and hearty up until the war and eventually became the widow of Duryodhana. Probably moved out of Hastinapura with the other widows.

      I have never come across the stories of children of Duryodhana.Let me know if you find some interesting stuff :-)

  3. I always had the view that Yudishthira was the biggest fraud in the whole lot. The rest of the Pandavas were ok. And in truth , what claim do Pandavas have to the throne of Hastinapur anyway. They are only sons of Kunthi , they were not even biological children of Pandu.

    1. I agree.A little spineless and always hiding behind Dharma.Ah well there is this bit in vedas which compare a wife to a fertile land.No matter who sows the seed the crop belongs to the owner.(Pretty misogynist!) So yes,Kunti's sons are pandu's sons.

      Also if we look at it even Pandu or Dhritharasthra are not part of Kuruvamsam.They were born to Ved Vyas (son of Satyavati & Parashara Muni,wife of King Shantanu) to wives of Shantanu and Satyavati's sons. Very confusing in terms of rights to throne!

      You should get a copy of Devdutt Pattnaik's "Jaya".It's an amazing read and quick ref to Mahabharata!

  4. Brilliant writing. Waiting for the next part.