I have often heard a casual comment regarding Draupadi Vastraharan in Mahabharata, that ‘Kurukshetra war happened only for a woman’.
Firstly, it would have anyway happened since the two parties were riven with hatred right from the beginning. The Kauravas made multiple attempts to assassinate the Pandavas. However, for argument’s sake, let us assume that it was a family feud and should not have escalated into a nationwide war.
Moreover, let’s factor the animosity out of the equation and look at Draupadi Vastraharan in Mahabharata objectively. Did the event justify a war of such a massive scale? Although, I don’t think that the destruction needs justification, yet, let us consider an analogy:
Imagine a situation in the present-day context. Let’s compare the Kuru Kingdom to be a big state of any country like India or the nation itself. Consider that the Prime Minister/Chief Minister has hosted a grand celebration in which the guests include the home minister, the defence minister, the chief of armed forces, the chief of police, the education minister, the media etc. along with all the dignitaries of the state.
However, during the celebration, two groups-hypothetically one of them including the premiers’ son- decide to play a friendly game of gambling. Gradually, the players commit to some serious stakes including that of property, wealth, relatives and immediate family. Eventually, the victors go around dragging the wife of the vanquished, by her hair and try to disrobe her.
Nonetheless, the most horrible part would be that the premier remains a mute spectator. The husband of the woman chooses to remain silent. The chief of army and police forces sit back helplessly. Lastly, the media records this shamelessly. Later on, the dastardly action is justified using some obsolete legal loopholes…Does Kurukshetra need any more justification?
I am not being a warmonger here. A bloody war like Kurukshetra should be the last option. However, imagine that despite all that happened in that hypothetical celebration, the premier decides not to make up for that mistake by delivering justice. Will a victim as powerful as the Pandavas sit around quietly(though they were guilty as well)?
Moreover, will the society in itself remain stable? Being a mute spectator to a crime is as good as perpetrating it. If the crime perpetrates in the presence of the head of the state along with eminent dignitaries, what about every other woman walking on the street? Will she feel safe?
War might be an option is such a case, but the transformation isn’t. Else, the society will implode.
Finally, if the system reaches such a state of slumber, a major transformation is on the way. Maybe, not in the form of war, but in the form of electoral shifts in modern days.
P.C. By Vintage prints
Note: The situation is hypothetical.