Was Duryodhana a villain?
The history is always written in the favor of winning side. Those who are acquainted with India’s great epic Mahabharata, surely knows that the Pandava’s were ill-treated by Kaurava’s and that though Pandava’s were virtuous, evil spirited Kaurava’s…especially Duryodhana was responsible for the tragedy of Mahabharata. The epical story tells us that because of Duryodhana and his wicked brothers and friends millions of people died on the battleground.
No doubt that the present version of Mahabharata has been interpolated in the course of the time. For example original story that Vyasa wrote was named as “Jaya” (Victory) which consisted only about 8000 stanzas. It seems that original version mainly was focused on the battle between cousin brothers i.e. Kaurava’s and Pandava’s. In later course of the time, because of constant additions and interpolations the Mahabharata became an epic of almost about hundred thousand-stanzas.
Kaurava’s were defeated in the great war, Duryodhana met with treacherous death and his parents had to go in an exile to meet ultimate death…thus wiping out entire Kaurava bloodline.
The war, from all the counts that we get from the present epic was certainly annihilation of both the sides, although Pandava’s won it…to express upon us that the Pandava’s were virtuous and thus they won the war.
Anyway. Always it is not the case the way it has been presented before us. The Mahabharata poses more questions than answers…To state the few…
- If Pandava’s were virtuous how the five brothers could marry a single woman without her consent?
- How Yudhisthir, eldest of Pandava’s could stake Draupadi in dice game without seeking permission of his other brothers as they too were husband with equal right over her? Duryodhana’s entire behavior during this session is admirable as he always wanted to be sure what Pandava’s has to say on his actions though Pandava’s had already been his slaves after defeat in dice game.
- There is no proof that Pandava’s rule over Indraprastha was just and righteous than Kaurava rule over Hastinapur.
- Yudhisthira was king of Indraprastha till he ruled it before dice game and later after defeat of kaurava’s. But Duryodhana was never a king. He was just a prince till his death. He couldn’t be a king till death of his crowned father. It doesn’t seem from the epic that Duryodhana ever tried to grab the crown by assassinating his father.
- Pandava’s killed, not only army of their sworn enemy, but their own Guru, keens, own blood-brother..Karna…Grandfather treacherously in the battle. We don’t see any example of such treachery from Duryodhana’s side.
- There is no slightest mention in Mahabharata that Duryodhana ever ill-treated his subjects or public in general.
- But Pandava’s, with help of Krishna, mass-massacred entire Naga clan by setting fire to Khandav vana and shooting arrows at the terrified people running helter-skelter for rescue.
- Pandava’s loved dicing. Especially Yudhisthira, the man called most virtuous, who didn’t stop his gaming till he staked a woman and brothers he alone didn’t own.
- The fact is there is no instance in Mahabharata that Duryodhana ever engaged in dicing. He indeed was a just Prince who is not blamed even in Mahabharata for treating his subjects cruelly or unjustly.
- Even final duel he fought with Bheema, followed the ethical norms and it was Bheema who treacherously broke the rules of duel and killed him by smashing his thighs.
There are so many instances that shows Pandava’s were treacherous, had no right over the throne being illegitimate children, used the sympathies of their Guru’s to their benefit and killed them finally to establish their own rule.
The history is as such. We always prefer and glorify the side of the winners. We always fall to the propaganda of the winners. We hardly want to see the truth through the truth. We always want to neglect the obvious. We always want to see that is being shown…we never attempt to see that is hidden.
We need to understand more than what we really do understand.