?Amritakirti? is a prestigious award given for social reform and promotion of Indian culture by the organisation of Mata Amritanandamayee. But it was quite painful to know that the award this year was given to
Dr. Pratibha Ray who has ruthlessly massacred Indian culture in her novel Yajnaseni (originally written in Oriya and translated into Malayalam) mainly for which she got the award.
It creates curiosity in the reader to know the truth and mystery behind the selection of such a person who has denigrated all the great and ideal characters of the Mahabharata. A few examples will give an idea as to how the sublime characters have been pulled down to the nadir and how the writer left no stone unturned to blacken Indian culture.
Bhima, in the Mahabharata, is known for his ardent love and sacrifice for his mother and brothers. Among the five husbands of Draupadi, he was perhaps the most dedicated one. But the same Bhima has been portrayed as an extremely selfish and intolerant person. He was so mean that he used to retain Draupadi on the pretext of pain in his stomach when she was supposed to stay with another husband. Bhima of Yajnaseni was so cruel that he would not mind killing all the Pandavas including Draupadi if the latter did not concede to his wishes (p. 115; Yajnaseni; Oriya).
Yudhishthira in the Mahabharata is the embodiment of righteousness who would sacrifice everything for upholding and establishing dharma. But for Pratibha Ray he was an unscrupulous man who stood outside the hut and spoke loudly to his mother that they had brought unique alms that day. He knew it well that his mother would tell them to share whatever they had got. It was a heinous conspiracy of Yudhishthira to share the would-be wife of his younger brother, whom he could not have otherwise got (p. 59; Yajnaseni; Oriya).
What to speak of the character of Draupadi, who in the said book is almost a psychic patient and has no control over her mind. She falls in love with someone today and is engrossed in some other'sthought the other day. .
India has a glorious tradition of dedicated women who venture to confront even the God of Death to save their husbands. But see how Pratibha Ray has portrayed her Draupadi! When Draupadi of Pratibha Ray heard that she was going to marry all the five brothers she was so upset that she wished to see all of them dead and turn into ashes (pp. 6-8; Yajnaseni; Oriya). What a portrayal of an ideal Indian woman, who wants to see her would-be husbands dead even before marriage!
It is a known fact that in the Mahabharata Draupadi herself denied marrying Karna during the swayamvara (Mahabharata 1.86.22). But Draupadi of Pratibha Ray is mad after Karna throughout her life. She was so infatuated with Karna that even if the latter called her ?a prostitute? she was not angry with him but cursed her husbands instead (p. 153; Yajnaseni; Oriya). Draupadi of Pratibha Ray often expressed that Karna would have been her suitable husband (p. 211; Yajnaseni; Oriya).
Draupadi comes under the group of ?sati? women for whom husband is God. Such women do have devotion towards God but they never think of seeing God as their husband or extramarital lover. Their love in the physical or mental plane is meant for their husband only. But Pratibha Ray portrays Sri Krishna as an extramarital lover of Draupadi. It was not devotion to God but a human love towards the mortal Krishna. She used to see Krishna in her husbands. There are many objectionable statements and ascriptions about the relation of Draupadi with Krishna, which goes against the story and the moral tradition of India. There is a nasty imaginary description that when once during his visit to Indraprastha Sri Krishna was sleeping on the bed, Draupadi stood by the side of the bed the whole night (p. 219; Yajnaseni; Oriya). Even a woman of common family would not do it.
It should not be argued that an author has the freedom of imagination and hence the depiction in the book under reference should not be criticised. It is true that an author has liberty of imagination. But that is meant to enhance the beauty of the ideal characters and not to disfigure them. A writer is free within the limits of truth and morality. He is not free to poison the minds of readers by writing untrue facts. Is an author, while writing a story about Ramayana, free to write that Sita was the wife of Ravana?
The book Yajnaseni is full of untrue and immoral facts. For example, when in order to avoid the great ensuing battle of Mahabharata Sri Krishna persuaded Karna to leave the Kauravas and come to the side of Pandavas by disclosing that he was the eldest son of Kunti, Sri Krishna, according to the writer of Yajnaseni, offered the crown of the would-be kingdom along with the freedom to enjoy Draupadi (p. 391; Yajnaseni; Oriya). And surprisingly the same ?Draupadi of Pratibha Ray? who wanted to see her would-be husbands turn into ashes at the very proposal of her marrying more than one husband did not have any reaction to this sinful and shameless proposal that Karna shall have the freedom to enjoy the married Draupadi! She obviously had no objection to this offer. One wonders as to what extent the Indian culture has been denigrated and the minds of the readers poisoned
The Mahabharata has been conferred with the status of dharmashastra. Are these contents of Yajnaseni the contents of a dharmashastra or a papashastra? Is it Indian culture? If this is our culture then what about the advice to see others? wife as mother (Matrivat paradaresu)?
In the same Mahabharata during the teaching of Gita Sri Krishna vouchsafes that He descends to the earth from time to time to establish dharma: Dharma samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge (Gita 4.8). ls it the way ?Krishna of Pratibha Ray? was establishing dharma?
Obviously, it was a mistake on the part of the organisation that selected the author of this book for the award.
The writer of Yajnaseni may not have read the Mahabharat before writing the book and the selectors may not have read the book Yajnaseni before selecting its writer for the award.
The book gives wrong .picture about our shastras also. For example, the writer on one occasion says that it is Kshatriya Dharma to enjoy a married woman by kidnapping her or by defeating her husband. It has the approval of the scriptures (p. 364; Yajnaseni; Oriya).
But ironically the writer of such an unholy statement, which insulted the whole woman race, got the ?Amritakirti? award from a holy organisation.
(The writer is a renowned literary figure of Oriya language.)
(From Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Orissa, A/16, Kharavela Nagar, Bhubaneswar.)