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Blasphemous portrayal of Draupadi by AP Writer: Lakshm Prasad

By: V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
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Amidst the uneasy and uncertain lull in the Telangana storm, passions in Andhra Pradesh have been incited yet again, this time by an attack on Draupadi by a Telugu writer from Andhra Pradesh.

Dussasana who disrobed Draupadi in open Court in the Mahabharata has been put to everlasting shame by a despicable writer called Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad in Andhra Pradesh. He holds Ph.D in Hindi as well as in Telugu from Andhra University. He became a Rajya Sabha MP in 1996. He was awarded Padmashri in 2003 for Literature & Education. This Hindu-baiter has produced a novel in Telugu titled "Draupadi" in which he has portrayed Draupadi as a sex-maniac with an unquenchable thirst for carnal pleasures. By writing this immoral and vulgar book, he has wantonly hurt the religious feelings, sentiments and susceptibilities of more than 800 Crores of Hindus in India.

Draupadi is a highly revered Hindu icon in all parts of India --- from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Rann of Kutch to Arunachal Pradesh. Draupadi is one of the most venerated and worshipped Panchakanyas. The 5 Panchakanyas are Draupadi, Ahalya, Mandodari, Sita and Tara. They are worshipped by Hindu married ladies as the epitome of grace, purity, and chastity. These five noble ladies set the highest standards of conduct for Indian womanhood. I can testify from my field experience in Tamil Nadu that there are innumerable village temples dedicated to Panchali (often called Panchali Amman Kovil) in all the districts of Tamil Nadu. I understand that similar temples dedicated to Panchali exist in all the states of India.

M.F Hussein, the jihadi pornographic painter, had the audacity to paint the Gods and Goddesses of India in the nude. He also painted Bharat Mata and Draupadi in the nude. The tragedy of Indian polity is that the Congress Government is openly and patently pan-Islamic and evangelical --- in short, rabidly anti-Hindu. Even the Supreme Court of India in cases without number has shown that it has contempt for the religious feelings and sentiments of more than 800 Crores of Hindus in India!! Our Supreme Court would not mind banning the display in India of Danish cartoons relating to Prophet Muhammad. At the same time it will have no difficulty in giving a total and blanket pseudo-secular freedom to M.F Hussein to draw cartoons denigrating Draupadi, Bharat Mata and many Hindu Gods and Goddesses with Islamic fervour and venom. In short the Hindus are the stateless inhabitants of India.

Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad"s book that defames Draupadi has been selected for the Central Sahitya Akademi Award. The Hindus of Andhra Pradesh have been outraged by the blasphemous portrayal of Draupadi --- a great devotee of Lord Krishna --- as an immoral woman by Y. Lakshmi Prasad. Several Hindu organizations led by Dr T. Hanuman Choudhary, Chairman of Prajna Bharati, have filed a petition in the Andhra Pradesh Human Right Commission stating that this book by Y. Lakshmi Prasad has wounded the feelings of all the Hindus. They have stated that this writer has "defamed, disgraced and desecrated the character of Draupadi, one of the most revered figures in the Mahabharata Epic". They have sought a stay of the Sahitya Academy Award to Y. Lakshmi Prasad at a function proposed on February 16, 2010. Finally they have also requested the Human Rights Commission to impose a ban on this scurrilous book.

I have seen the Interim Orders of the Human Rights Commission. They have passed a very just and balanced order directing the Secretary of the Union information and Broadcasting Ministry to submit a report on the selection of Draupadi for the Sahitya Akademi Award and ordered a stay on the presentation. The Award is to be handed out in New Delhi on February 16. The Commission Chairman Justice B. S Reddy has stated that the petitioners have made out a Prima facie case against the book to the effect that several excerpts from the book are so blasphemous and pornographic as to hurt the religious feelings of the Hindus of India. Lakshmi Prasad should be prosecuted by the Government under sections 153A / 295A of the Indian Penal Code for wounding the religious feelings of Hindus of India without any known provocation whatsoever.

Lakshmi Prasad adopting the approach of Sigmund Freud portrays Draupadi as having a desire to marry and have sex with Karna, the great Mahabharat warrior who was, like the three eldest Pandavas, Kunti"s son but fought against them. In his imaginary novel, according to Lakshmi Prasad, Draupadi says: "I have been watching him practicing the display of swords and other weapons. My body and mind craves his strong embrace".

At Draupadi"s Swayamvara, Arjuna, won the stiff archery test and won the heart and hand of Princess Draupadi. Kunti, the mother of the five Pandava brothers, not knowing that the five brothers were bringing home the Princess of Panchaala, unwittingly asked the five brothers to share whatever they brought equally among themselves. For the Pandavas any word from Mother Kunti was a command to be implicitly obeyed without any question. This is the background for Draupadi marrying the five Pandavas.

Dussasana in the Mahabharata with carnal desire and hatred in his mind and heart tried to disrobe Draupadi. Draupadi was frantic with dismay and sorrow. With her arms folded together like a lotus bud, she stood with her eyes closed and prayed to Lord Krishna. Her eyes rained tears and her lips rained the praises of Lord Krishna. She cried out to HIM: "Oh, My Lord Krishna, Vaasudeva! They say you are the last refuge of the helpless. You are everything to me! You must not be blind to the danger from this savage carnal animal called Dussasana. They say You are everywhere, that You are present where your Bhakta sings Your praises. You must be here. I surrender myself to You. It is up to you to save me!" Draupadi then went into a trance.

Draupadi was saved by Lord Krishna. Let us hear the words of Maharishi Vyasa: "Dussasana began to pull Draupadi"s clothes. They came off easily. She was not trying to defend herself. The horrified audience looked on! Then a miracle was seen! Dussasana was pulling Draupadi"s clothes and they were getting longer and longer. He used both his hands and pulled. Still the cloth kept on feeding his hands. He could not pull it off completely. The cloth grew: grew like the infinite kindness of God, like the tears of a repentant man, like the gifts of a generous man. It was growing. By the side of Dussasana, whose anger was mounting, could be seen a heap of cloth which was growing in size every moment. All the colours of the rainbow gleamed from that heap of cloth. Dussasana got tired. He could no longer continue the disrobing of Draupadi. At last exhausted, he gave up the attempt and collapsed."

Mahakavi Bharati in his "Panchaali Sabatham" says that the Universe and the Cosmos felt a seismic shock when Duryodhana directed Dussasana to drag Draupadi to the open Court. Mahakavi Bharati calls it: "Adharmathin Kuzhappam" (Adharma induced Confusion!). He rises to supreme poetic heights in describing this cataclysmic situation: The meaning of the verse can be summarized as follows: "There was death and destruction of Dharma. Truth became falsehood. All forms of penance and spiritual meditation were defamed and rendered pointless and meaningless. They were consigned to the dust. The Devas in Heaven were shocked and stunned by the shafts of unknown fire entering their stomachs. Silent sages and Maharishis in meditation lost all their sense of balance and direction. The Deathless Voice of the Eternal Vedas became a mere blabber. The roots of NaadaBrahmam were suddenly uprooted. Consequently the Gandharvas became bereft of all aesthetic and spiritual sense and sensibility. Lord Brahma became dumbstruck. Goddess Saraswati lost the luminosity and power of her intellect. MahaVishnu went into a torpid state of deep and unwakeable slumber. Goddess SriDevi, the Queen of all Wealth with her ever-radiant face, lost her radiant complexion and her face became black. Lord Shiva felt shattered into spiritual smithereens. Goddess Uma of Timeless Beauty and ever-youthful vigour was radically transformed into a MAHAA KAALI."

I have quoted Mahakavi Bharati only to illustrate as to how he viewed the DIVINITY of Queen Draupadi. The very thought of dishonouring her arising in the mind of wicked Duryodhana and Dussasana led to the above disastrous Cosmic Consequences. Like the sacred Ganga, Queen Draupadi also has held the hearts of Indian women captive since the dawn of history.

Y. Lakshmi Prasad, like Duryodhana and Dussasana in the Mahabharata has tried to sully and dishonour the name and fame of Queen Draupadi. M. F Hussein has used his painting brush to tarnish the image of Draupadi. Lakshmi Prasad has tried to achieve the same effect through his vile and vitriolic pen. As a third grade politician, he may have contempt for the religious feelings and sentiments of the Hindus of India. If he tries to play with the Hindus of India, then they also know how to play with him in the manner and measure required.

Let not Lakshmi Prasad forget the fact that M.F Hussein who had likewise hurt the religious feelings of Hindus through his pornographic paintings of Draupadi, is now hiding in exile outside India, despite the best efforts of the pseudo-seculars of India to bring him back to the country for awarding Bharat Ratna for the "promotion of communal harmony" with the full legal approval of the Supreme Court of India.

To conclude, the greatest and largest classical epic ever written is the Mahabharatha. Draupadi showcases best the eternal and deathless spirit of Mahabharatha. To quote the words of S. Kalyanaraman: "The story of Draupadi is also a lesson of courage, determination, faith, hope and victory and the loss that comes with it all. And if you too are a believer in God, then Draupadi stands out as the epitome of unshakeable faith. Many a heroine may have been scripted in many a story in world literature, but none can equal this great Draupadi!"

V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.

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