Draupadi — An uninvited girl who rose to become a symbol of the power and dignity of her mighty maiden
Draupadi, a fire born girl, is an epitome of womanhood. Draupadi is a daughter of Drupad, a king of a prominent kingdom of Panchala and a common wife of Pandava, the valiant heroes of Kurukshetra war. However, the identity of Draupadi is not limited to being a daughter of a king or being a wife of heroes. With a remarkable strength of her character, Draupadi can be considered as female ‘Hero’ of a story of Mahabharata. She is such a noteworthy character, that it can be contended that the entire story of Mahabharata revolves around her. In fact, her actions are so forceful that she has directed the course of Mahabharata; and therefore has been commonly regarded as ‘a cause’ of Kurukshetra war.
Through an unbending will and a force of actions, Draupadi epitomizes feminine power. She is the strongest character of her time that has shown a new path of self-respect and honor for womanhood. She has shown incomparable ability to stand against all odds of life while keeping her morale high. Through her thoughts and actions, Draupadi has proven that a woman possesses a high potential to bring out a desired change in the society. Her character is a remarkable milestone in the journey of woman empowerment. Draupadi is the one who can be regarded as the most empowered woman of all times as compared to other female characters, who have fought a silent battle against injustice. Draupadi can be considered as a forerunner to announce an open battle against injustice caused to woman and to challenge social constraints put on a woman. She sets before us an excellent example of an empowered woman who dares to walk on the path of progress trespassing all the existing boundaries and sets a new horizon of womanhood.
A character of Draupadi is an extraordinary synthesis of modernity and conventionality, which sets her above an ordinary womanhood. Even being a common wife of the five, with her ‘one-for-herself’ character she is considered as the one of five sacred virgin female characters of mythology. Draupadi is the most attractive and beautiful character of her time. However, her real beauty goes beyond her physical appearance and encompasses to all the traits of a human being that make one a prominent personality. Draupadi is the one, who is sincere in her thoughts and thorough in her actions. A virginity of her thoughts and actions leaves us astonished. She is therefore also considered as an enigmatic character. The deeper we delve into her character; the more we explore the treasures of her character.
Draupadi is born out of fire-sacrifice carried out by Drupad — a king of Panchala. However, a fire sacrifice has been carried out by Drupad with a desire of getting a son, who will take a revenge of his insult by killing Drona. Therefore, although Draupadi’s birth is a celestial one, she is not the one who has been invited by her parents. For her father children are just a source of fulfillment of his own desire; and accordingly Draupadi is also destined to bring downfall to Kuru dynasty. Birth of Draupadi out of fire can be regarded as a metaphor of a fact that she is born out of desire of revenge by her father. Her father refuses to accept her; because he does not look upon to a girl for being able to fulfill desire and to bring glory to a dynasty. All that her father wants is a son to fulfill his desire. But Birth of Draupadi and her whole life is manifestation of fact that even a girl can fulfill all the desires of her parents and can bring glory to them. Draupadi is counted as one of five sacred female characters. Her name is extolled in a hymn and is believed to dispel sin when recited. Besides that, her role is instrumental for initiation of a war, wherein her brother has fulfilled his destiny — killing a rival of his father.
In her childhood, Draupadi’s existence is decreed by the existence of her brother. During her upbringing, she does not receive as much consideration as her brother. This is a common phenomenon seen in Indian society. In Indian society parents give more importance to an upbringing of a son as compared to an upbringing of a daughter. In spite of this differential treatment to twin siblings, Draupadi does not get demotivated. Though observations, she tries to learn as many things as she can. This approach of Draupadi helps her to grow into an independent character. She builds an ability to give a rational thought on each and every thing that takes place around her. She is a rebellious one who tries to challenge the traditional rules set for a daughter in Indian society. Her conduct shows that she accepts herself with her strengths and weaknesses and does not try to fit herself in well-accepted cannon of character. This attitude of Draupadi brings out a change in approach of her father towards her and she starts getting required consideration.
Traditionally, different set of norms have been set out in the society for an education of a daughter and a son. A traditional training designed for a prince contains everything that enables one to achieve an object of human pursuit. This training covers all four objects of human life — Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Mokṣha (liberation, spiritual values). This exposure enables him to grow into a character of a statesman. In contrast to that, a scope of an education given to a girl is limited. She is given only that education which will enable her to grow into a character of a housewife. However, Draupadi goes an extra mile and shares a course of education designed for Drishtadyumna. A permission by her father, to allow Draupadi to receive such training along with her brother, shows a fact that he is convinced about her competitiveness and extraordinary learning abilities. Also, an arrangement of grand contest of archery for Draupadi Swayamvara shows a fact that her father is also convinced about unique abilities of her daughter. He capitalizes it as an opportunity to form alliance with the best archer in the world who can even outperform Drona — his rival and can secure his position. In this way, an uninvited girl born out of fire becomes a symbol of power and dignity of her mighty maiden state Panchala and receives its support throughout her life time. Draupadi’s maiden state Panchal fights Kurukshetra war as allies of Pandava and Panchal warriors form the biggest part of Pandava army.