It all started last year while I was watching some random episode of KBC. A question from Mahabharat popped up and I was stumped - also a little embarrassed, but it piqued my interest in the epic.
Since then, I have watched B R Chopra's Mahabharat multiple times and have read C Rajgopalachari's wonderful book of the same name and dissected several other articles, related stories and blogs on the subject.
And while there is so much that I have learnt in re-reading and re-watching this great epic, I have found myself more and more drawn towards Karna. To me, he is one of the 3 standout characters of the epic. The other 2 being: Bhishma and Shakuni. But even among these 3, it is Karna who is the most enigmatic and impressive.
He is a multi-dimensional character; a great warrior, someone who fights on the wrong side and still commands respect from everyone; he is also a great friend, a man who stands by his friend despite knowing the consequences; he is a great human being, a man with a clear conscience and someone who is true to his words; he is a man of big heart who never refuses anything to anyone. And yet, with all these qualities, he is constantly humiliated, taunted and taken advantage of. His qualities, his solitude and his internal duel between his loyalties towards Suyodhan and his identity make him one of the most revered and complex characters in Indian mythology.
His life is a tragedy and his story is so twisted that it has compelled me to think what if...what if he was recognized as Kunti's son much earlier, what if he was not cursed by so many people....what if he had accepted Krishna's request and joined the Pandavas...what if...