Draupadi is a great character shown in Mahabharat epic but in the book Draupadi has been described to be a woman of low character and is cited with sleazy expressions and attributed with immoral laisons to the great characters including Sri Krishna who was the incarnation of Sri Vishnu. The fundamental right of freedom of speech and expresson cannot hurt the religious sentiments.
PRAGNA Bharati, a voluntary organisation (a forum of intellectuals) based in Hyderabad, publishing an English monthly magazine Bharatiya Pragna, approached Human Rights Commision, AP, under the chairmanship of Justice Subhashan Reddy seeking withdrawal of award to Mr Yarlagadda Laxmi Prasad for his novel Draupadi. The learned judge issued an order bearing no HRC no 247/2010 dt 11th day of January 2010. The operational part of the order read as follows:
Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) of Indian Constitution but has got limitations under clause (2) of the said Article 19 in the context of public order, decency or morality apart from other limitations stated therein. Draupadi is a great character shown in Mahabharat epic but in the above book has been described to be a woman of low character and is cited with sleazy expressions and attributed with immoral laisons to the great characters including Sri Krishna who was the incarnation of Sri Vishnu. The fundamental right of freedom of speech and expresson cannot hurt the religious sentiments which in turn result in breach of public disorder, decency or morality. Hence, the Commission calls for report from the Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Union of India, New Delhi by February 11, 2010. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at New Delhi is directed to consider postponement of the said event of presentation of the award and also publication of the same into other languages till this Commission finally decides the matter.
In a letter to the chairman, Sahitya Academi, New Delhi, the intellectual body said, “Vernacular television channels in AP have come out with panel discussions by noted and eminent writers of Telugu concluded with the remarks that that the jury was prejudiced. A trust formed under the chairmanship of the writer being awarded has allegedly given rupees one lakh each to the members of the present jury.
That the novel is nothing but the cheap denigration of prime character Draupadi who according to folklore was an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi.
On a cursory glance of the pages, one is shocked to learn that the author has taken liberty in denigrating the character of Draupadi bordering on semi-porn and inviting derision.
As per Narada and Vayu Puranas, Draupadi was composite avatar of Goddesses Shyamala (wife of Dharma), Bharati (wife of Vayu), Sachi (wife of Indra), Usha (wife of Ashwini) and hence married their earthly counterparts in form of five Pandavas. Enraged at a jest by Parvati and the four other goddesses, Brahma cursed them to human birth of which the solution Parvati brought about was to be born as one woman—Draupadi—and hence share the earthly body for a smaller period of time. Draupadi’s characteristic anger and fight against injustice reflects Parvati or Shakti, Kali inhabiting Draupadi’s mortal flesh at times. At other times, Draupadi was docile and even waited to be rescued (as in case of Jayadratha and Jatasura) showing the qualities of other goddesses like Sachi and Usha. And at other times, she showed cunning and guile to hide Pandava’s true identity and still use Vayu putra Bhima to kill Keechaka like Goddess Bharati would. Draupadi was also avatar of Goddess Shree or wealth who was joint wife to five Indras, aka five Pandavas. She was to be born several times for imprisoning the Indras. First time was as Vedavati who cursed Ravana (here we find yet another Goddess avatar Swaha, wife of Agni). She then came again as Maya-Sita especially to take revenge from Ravana while Agni hid the real Sita. Third one was partial either Damyanti (whose husband Nala was equivalent to Dharma, Vayu, Indra just like the Pandavas) and her daughter Nalayani. She married Sage Mudgala. Fifth avatar was Draupadi herself. So we find in Draupadi—a composite avatar of Kali, Parvati, Sachi, Shyamala, Usha, Bharati, Shree, Swaha—the eight goddesses. Draupadi is the exemplification of bhakti to God. She showed utmost faith to Sri Krishna.
The above is narrated to give the Academi how revered is Draupadi to millions of faithful followers. This author recommended by jury for award has attributed motives with sexual overtones to none other than Sri Krishna Himself. According to this perverted soul Sri Krishna negotiated the marriage of Subhadra only to gain access to Draupadi without hindrance. This is nothing but the outcome of a sick and perverted mind. And last but not the least, the literary world in any Indian language over the past two to three decades has largely been held hostage to perverted writers. A lot of these playwrights and writers have their eyes on awards, and the juries often seek safety in going by the current ideological fashion rather than swim against it. Therefore, for an ambitious writer, confirming to the fads of the day is a necessary strategy for survival. Should the Academy become a party to this sick game unheard of in the annals of history. How can it be possible for such an author to be given a distinction and even a prize when he makes the practice of desecrating the rights and dignity of hundreds of thousands of women in such an indiscriminate and shameful manner?
In the end, who needs prizes which fail to encourage the best literature for their professional and ethical standards? Who needs prizes which achieve the exact opposite: denigrating women to the hilt to the retrograde practices of suiting the characters fashioned to titillate to the latest trends of abstract pornography? This is sickeningly disingenuous. The intellectual body said: “We believe wholeheartedly in freedom of speech as a guarantee of human rights and basic freedom in a democratic society, but at the same time we are firmly against the abuse of free speech, especially when it is used discriminatively against womanhood and at the expense of the dignity of individuals for social and religious groups.”