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Feminist of the Highest order

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by jayasala42, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Emperor Napoleon had an excellent memory. He memorized the rosters of his units and used to call the soldiers by name. It is estimated more than one lakh soldiers were in his army. Baron Meneval, Napoleon’s secretary, wrote in his memoirs that his memory had been described as ‘astonishing’. Various biographers describe his memory as ‘very retentive’, ‘near photographic, ‘prodigious’, and ‘phenomenal’.
    Let us compare these interesting facts with the photographic memory of Queen Draupadi of Mahabharata. She revealed her very rare qualities to the Queen Sathyabama, the wife of Lord Krishna in an intimate chat. She informed Sathyabama that one lakh sixty thousand Brahmanas (priestly class) were daily fed in the palace of Yudhishthira. He also had a hundred thousand well-dressed serving maids with bracelets on arms and golden ornaments on necks, and decked with costly garlands. They were all skilled in singing and dancing. Draupadi knew the names and features of all those girls, as also what they are and what they were, and what they did not.



    Yudhishthira had also a hundred thousand maid-servants. These servants daily used to feed guests, with plates of gold in their hands. And while Yudhishthira lived in Indraprastha a hundred thousand horses and a hundred thousand elephants used to follow in his train. These were the possessions of Yudhishthira while he ruled the earth. It was Draupadi, however, who regulated their number and framed the rules to be observed in respect of them; and it was she who had to listen to all complaints about them. Indeed she knew everything about what the maid-servants of the palace and other classes of attendants, even the cow-herds and the shepherds of the royal establishment, did or did not! We are astonished with the statements of Draupadi.
    International women's Day brings to us memories of Mahabharata with the main lady characters ,having started the Women empowerment some 5000 years back.

    The four women in particular who wielded power in more than one form were Sathyavathi the dusky fragrant fisher woman, who became the queen , Pritha( Kunthi) the fair maiden who reluctantly became the mother of five sons and Krishnaa , daughter of the fire , Druapadi. and Mother ganga, the supreme,unquestionable , who threw away all her new borns into the river and simply walked away.





    Very few women stand out as much as the character of Draupadi. Draupathi is noted for her fearlessness as for her memory skills. In those days many women were experts in numbers and recognition skills.. Draupadi lived in a time when there was no question of women’s equality with men.




    Drupada, allowed Draupadi to be educated. Drupada had engaged learned Brahmins for the education of his sons. Draupadi also joined them and became an expert in Political Science” It is possible that the unique qualities that Draupadi possessed, such as strength and audacity, are a result of being educated. Having such a complete education would have given Draupadi a sense of confidence unfamiliar to most women. Also Draupadi was quick to learn and had thirst for knowledge; she had a keen memory and had a vast knowledge on many subjects. Her intellect and knowledge did not however hinder her ability to be a dutiful wife. “Draupadi was a devoted wife, chaste, religious minded and adhering to duty.



    . She was quick to see the benefit of her polyandrous lifestyle and was able to take all obstacles in stride. She had a great understanding of the balance between being bold and forthright, and being submissive and dutiful.



    Draupadi had presence of mind and fearlessness even during calamities. She could rebuke and threaten the Kauravas, Jayadratha and Kichaka for molesting her and was bold enough to argue with the members of the assemblies of the Kurus and also Virata.. It is Draupadi’s reaction to situations like these, that set her apart from her husbands;





    Draupathi's knowledge of politics is well known.The Pandavas relied on her decisions most of the times. Her life was full of ups and downs and she maintained her dignity in both the situations. It is Draupadi’s ability to overcome adversity in a venerable manner that sets her apart from other women.



    In the Mahabharata she proves that no situation is insurmountable, and she never abandons her husbands, regardless of the positions they lead her into. After the incident at the court of the Kurus, Draupadi emerges as a much more powerful character.She was reasonable even while being harsh.


    She could argue forcibly to win her point with apt quotations and illustrations from various scriptures ,her knowledge on various subjects like righteousness, duties and codes of conduct for the four Varnas (castes), moral, legal and ethical codes made every listener spell bound.



    . Although Draupadi was desperate for revenge on those who harmed her, her distinction between right and wrong was rarely clouded and she was often in pursuit of justice. Draupadi’s distinction among other women from the epics is paramount and well deserved; she was far ahead of her time, often found commanding her husbands to do her bidding. It is her ability to use her position with responsibility and insight that show her true power as a woman.



    More than her memory skills,her superb qualities steadfast devotion to duty, spirit of self sacrifice, fortitude; courage, capacity for hard work, presence of mind, perseverance, endurance, thirst for knowledge, wisdom to discriminate between right and wrong and strength to fight against injustice, truth, modesty, forgiveness, softness and harshness as the occasion demanded , make her unique.She was the first feminist of the highest order.



    Jayasala 42































     
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  2. madhuprabha

    madhuprabha Gold IL'ite

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    Hello Jaya mam,
    That was a very informative snippet that u have posted. Draupadi has always been the main and the best character of Mahabharata. Any other woman would have been cowed down by Kunti's order to take on all the five brother as their husband. But Draupadi did not and she led a dignified life throughout all the travails of her life.
    If standing up to all that life throws at you, with your head held high is being a feminist, then I agree with you, Draupadi is the feminist of the highest order.
     
  3. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Madhu Prabha,
    Actually the term 'feminist' has been defined by many in many ways.whether Draupathi herself agreed for polyandrous marriage or she was forced into that, she did justify her role and proved herself.
    Jayasala 42
     
  4. sindmani

    sindmani Platinum IL'ite

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    True. I like Draupathi for her bravery
    Ur snippets are great and I am reading it to gain knowledge
     
  5. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for the kind words.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  6. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear jayasala maam,
    That was as usual a very informative and indepth account of the background of Draupadi. Yes, she truly can be called a feminist of the highest order and in a very good sense, in that she took on and achieved in her lifetime, challenges that would daunt any woman.
     
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  7. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Joylokhi.Most of us know only the min facts about Draupathi that she married five men.The more we know about her we can understand the patience and perseverance of Draupathi and the strange circumstances she was placed and how she maintained a balance, very difficult to even imagine.That is why in many villages in South,there is a temple in which Draupathi Amman is the presiding deity.Outwardly we may wonder why vyasa should create such a female character much against the prevailing social norms. In depth analysis reveals a much taller image of her.

    Jayasala 42
     
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