Last week I wrote about the role of women in the Mahabharata. Today I'd like to go a bit deeper into that theme--and discuss Draupadi.Chitra Banerjee Divakaruna fell into my hands: The Palace of Illusions. A whole book told from the point of view of Draupadi: at first I was delighted. Then I had second thoughts
a secret power, a power he is unaware of. His position is pivotal to the entire story, and I was determined to make this clear. That’s why I brought forward the scene of his conception and began the story with that, as a sort of prologue. It’s to say: watch this guy. He’s important. Don’t forget him. He’s a great character. Flawed, but honourable to his fingertips."
Divakaruni obviously sees Karna in the very light that I did, because, in her book Karna is a main character. It’s not a spoiler to say that Palace of Illusions is about Draupadi’s secret love for Karna, because that is the hook of the entire story: and what a Karna we have here! He is just as I imagined him: a truly noble hero, the greatest of them all, whose only flaw is a result of the tragic circumstances of his birth.
And so it is Karna in particular who links these two books: Sons of Gods, that tells the whole story of his life and death, and Palace of Illusions, that tells the story of the woman who loved him most.
and I have to thank Divakaruni for opening up the character of Draupadi and making her a living, breathing character with her own story to tell.