She did not come in as usual, animated and gay. Her face was white, her steps faltered. Thinking her friend must be sick, she stepped towards her. Her friend came up to her with great effort, gripped the princes’ hands, and burst out, ‘You are betrayed, poor darling, we are betrayed. The prince you are going to marry is blind from birth.’ Gandhari did not comprehend her friend’s words. The next moment she fell to the floor unconscious.
It’s an excerpt from book YUGANTA. The celebrated Marathi writer Irawati Karve portrayed the situation when princess Gandhari first came to know about her fate of marrying prince Dhritarashtra, a blind from birth. We all know the subsequent development how Gandhari voluntarily blindfolded herself throughout her married life. The writer also imagined a situation when Gandhari unveiled cover from her eyes in her last days in hermitage in the
Last December, after crossing the hamlet Gandhari on Udaipur-Amarpur road when we moved towards Chhabimura a hypothetical question errupted in my mind, ‘Does her act of remaining blind-folded throughout her married life pay anything to the mankind?’
Chhabimura, also known as Debatamura is famous for its panels of rock carvings on the steep mountain wall on the bank of Gomati. There are huge images carved of Shiva, Vishnu, Kartika, Mahisasur Mardini Durga and other gods and goddesses. These images date back to 15th-16th centuries. These beautiful images are carved with a lot of dexterity on the rocky faces of Debtamura which is steep as 90 degrees. The hill ranges are covered with thick jungles and one can reach this abode of gods only after trekking through these jungles. I was accompanied by my colleagues Prabir Majumder, Sukanta Biswas and other officials on that occasion. The river Gomati is about nine kilometers from the main road and one has to move in light vehicles through the jurisdiction of Debbari Gaon Panchayet, once ravaged by insurgency. With the departure of insurgency Gandhari is gradually unveiling her treasures. To and fro voyage for seventy minutes on Gomati river in speed-boat brings a remembrance of the sight of journey in the
Now, coming to my question, in the epic Gandhari made a single exception to her blindfolded state, when she removed her blindfold to see her eldest son, Duryodhana. She poured all her power into that one glance, rendering Duryodhana's entire body, except his loins as strong as iron.
Gandhari was ardent worshipper of Lord Shiva and student of Durvasa. Her sacrifice of her eyesight and her austere life granted her great spiritual power, allowing her to grant powers and make curses. Certainly, my question will fetch mixed response from people. But, personally I feel that a strong personality like Gandhari could have guided her children in the righteous path had she led a normal life.
The epistemology of the place Gandhari is not known to me. Except Lord Krishna, there may not be any other protagonist of the epic associated with the name of any place in our State. Perhaps, the instant name has arrived from a shrub Gandhaki which grows in abundance at this place. In the main-land, it’s called Sugandh Mantri with its scientific name Homalomena aromatica.
Like the famous character of the Mahabharata, the place has witnessed many blood-sheds. It had witnessed an ill-famous killing of nine non-tribal Bus passengers during June, 1980-Riot and many more attacks upon her visitors when the insurgency in our State was at its peak. In particular, a faulty road-roller lying by the side of the road at Gandhari, exactly thirteenth kilometer from Amarpur towards
I have brought the reference of elephants with a specific purpose. Gandhari is a part of the
Let’s remember the last days of Gandhari. She ended her life with her husband Dhritarashtra, brother-in-law Vidura, and Kunti in the
Shall it be a wild guess if I consider that they went for pilgrimage in the
They had certainly visited Pragjyotishpur and Kamakhya. The king of Pragjyotishpur, Bhagdutta was their trusted ally. He fought for the Kauravas in Kurukshetra battle with his elephants. Certainly his ancestors were equally devoted towards Dhritarashtra and his accompanied persons. In all probability, from Pragjyotishpur they were sent on elephants by the local king for pilgrimage at