MY NAME IS DURYODHANA

My name is Duryodhana. Yes, that Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, the rightful ruler of Kurus, the rightful king of Hastinapura. Most of you know about me, but you don’t know me at all. You’ve heard about me from the stories told by those who take the side of my cousins, the Pandavas. You’ve heard about all the things I did, but you don’t know anything about the reasons behind the things I did. You all condemned me as the usurper of the throne of Hastinapura and Indraprastha, when what I did was merely trying to unite the split nations into one great nation as it were before the Pandavas came to claim a part of Hastinapura.

I was the eldest son of the eldest son. My father was the one who should have been the king, not the Pandavas’ father. Granted my father was blind, but wasn’t it unfair to rob a man off his rightful place due to a disability, without considering his other virtues? Blind as he was, my father was wise and just. His prowess in infighting was so great that he managed to defeat King Shalya who nearly killed my uncle Pandu. However, the council of elders seemed to think differently. Thus my uncle Pandu took the throne which was rightfully my father’s. Not for long though, as he finally was banished to the forest, due to his own arrogant deed that angered the gods. And my father became the king of Hastinapura as he should have been.

My name is Duryodhana

My name is Duryodhana

I was raised by my parents as the future king of Hastinapura. My uncles Vidura and Shakuni taught me everything there is to know about politic, both the bright and dark side of it. My cousin Balarama taught me the way of the warrior, and he made me one of the most formidable mace fighters in the world. My great-uncle Bhisma, the greatest general of the sixteen mahajanapadas, trained me to be a great general, and he gave me my first battle to prove my worth. Later, a warrior hermit named Drona came to be my next teacher of the way of the warrior. I lived a completely satisfying and promising life as the heir to the throne of Hastinapura. I knew I would be a good and just king, and I would make my country greater than it was. I knew I would be the greatest king this country ever had.

Then one day my cousins returned along with my aunt Kunti. Their father, my uncle Pandu, had died years before due to the curse laid upon him. Their return shattered my dreams. Rumors spread among Hastinapura’s council of the elders that they would be the ones to inherit the throne of Hastinapura, not me. Not me? I was the eldest son of the eldest son. I should be the one. That was my birthright, and no one, not even the gods, should deny me that right, especially after all those long and hard training I took to make me worthy of the right. Jealous, was I? No, why should I be? I was the better man. While those bumpkins played in the forest, I learned about state matters. I was the one raised and educated to be the king, not them. So I would be the king.

It was not surprising that enmity raised between us, the five Pandavas and the hundred Kauravas. Despite our greater numbers, we soon realized that our five cousins were not to be taken lightly. Their martial prowess matched those of ours, and we would need more than what we had to beat them. To make matters worse, my uncle Vidura took the my cousins’ side, as for some curious reasons he seemed to be very fond of Yudhistira, the eldest of the Pandavas. I still had my maternal uncle Shakuni as my advisor, but it was still an uneven match. Then one day a poor boy named Radheya, a son of a charioteer, came to compete in the royal archery competition. He was the only one who could match my cousin Arjuna, the best archer of the Pandavas. However, the Pandavas soon learned about his humble origin and mocked him, banning him from the competition as he was not of royal blood. Me, I saw something in this boy. I’ve known him before not only as the son of a humble charioteer. I saw a flaming spirit, a great potential. Royal blood or not, such a potential was not to be wasted. So I immediately gave him a fief of Anga, which was rightfully mind after I reclaimed it on my very first war, and gave him a ducal title to rule that fief. Thus I gained a new friend, a new brother, who was loyal to me. No matter what happened Radheya, later known as Karna, was my brother to the death. He was loyal to me, even after finding out the fact that he was actually the eldest son of my aunt Kunti and thus was the Pandavas’ half brother, and for his undying loyalty I gave him my loyalty, totally. When I say totally, I mean without reservation. I would have given my life for him.

When it was finally clear to me that the Pandavas were to inherit the throne, I made my decision. Those usurpers had to die. So I devised a plan to assassinate them. It seemed to work, but somehow they escaped, leaving six corpses of innocent beggars behind. However, they were hiding long enough that I was inaugurated as the king of Hastinapura. Their return threatened the equilibrium of Hastinapura. To prevent a civil war, I decided to give them a portion of the country, and aided by Krishna they built it into Indraprastha, which soon nearly rivaled Hastinapura.

As a king, I was determined to unite the split nations into one as before, but a war was not an option. A war would destroy us all, and the victor would suffer too many losses and risked being swallowed up by the subdued and neighboring nations who were jealous of our greatness. So my uncle Shakuni devised a plan to lure the Pandavas, especially Yudhisthira, into the game of dice. It worked and the Pandavas lost everything, even their freedom. Once again, Hastinapura became one great nation. However, my own father betrayed me out of his kindness. He petitioned me to return Indraprastha to them. I reluctantly agreed, with one condition: the Pandavas had to be banished into the forest for twelve years, and hide themselves for another year. Should any of us find them before the thirteenth year was over, they would have to suffer another twelve-year banishment. I was sure this would settle things once and for all. If the forest didn’t finish them, there would be no way they could have hide for a year without my spies finding them. And while they were on exile, I put my time and energy to establish Hastinapura’s dominance over the existing mahajanapadas, aided by Karna. He managed to reduce to submission the Kambojas, the Shakas, the Kekayas, the Avantyas, the Gandharas, the Madarakas, the Trigartas, the Tanganas, the Panchalas, the Videhas, the Suhmas, the rest of the Angas, the Vangas, the Nishadas, the Kalingas, the Vatsa, the Ashmakas, the Rishikas and numerous others including mlecchas and the forest tribes. Hastinapura became the greatest nation on the known world, and the Pandavas would no longer be a problem.

I was nearly as wrong as I could be. They survived the banishment, and they managed to hide for nearly a year in Virata. We managed to find them by pure luck when we tried to invade Virata, and saw our five cousins fought on their side. It was the last day of their hiding, and by all that’s holy they should have endured another twelve year banishment as agreed upon. They refused, and this led to the greatest civil war in our history, The Kurukhshetra War, the war between the descendants of Bharata. The Bharatayudha.

The war lasted for eighteen days. It was supposed to be a war to follow the code of the knights, and instead it turned into a war of trickery and deceit. My great-uncle Bhisma lost his will to fight when Krishna, the Pandavas’ chief war advisor, spread a rumor that Sikhand was the reincarnation of Amba, a princess who committed suicide because of her love to my great-uncle. Sikhandi and Arjuna managed to beat him easily with this trickery. Afterward it was trickery for trickery and deceit for deceit. We killed one of their best young generals, Abhimanyu the son of Arjuna, after cutting him off his troops with the Chakra Vyuha battle formation led by Dronacharya. Then the Pandavas tricked Dronacharya into committing suicide by spreading the lie that Asvattama, Dronacharya’s only son, was killed in battle. In an act of cowardice, Dhristadyumna decapitated the unarmed and dying Drona. The war went on brutally in such a fashion, and both sides suffer great losses. I lost all my brothers, my allies, my trusted generals and aides, and to top it all, I lost my best friend, my truest brother, Karna.

So I lost. I fought well, but I lost. Karma. Nothing else to be done but my one last battle. Tomorrow I would face Bhima in a mace-fight. If I won, I would have Hastinapura, and they would have Indraprastha. If I won, I would have another chance to rebuild my country, and hopefully in the future I would have another chance to unite the split nations into one again. And I think I’ll win tomorrow. My cousin Balarama was the only one who can beat me in a mace-fight. Bhima, formidable as he is now, is not my match in this kind of fighting. He can only win if he cheats, and Balarama as the judge will make sure that he won’t do that.

Now, reflecting on my whole life, I ask myself if I have anything to regret. My answer comes up immediately. No. I have no regret. I did what I believe was right. No regret at all.  Besides, even if I died, my father’s line would not be totally eliminated. At least my sister Dussala and her son Suratha are alive and well in the kingdom of Sindhu. Much as I despise the Pandavas, I believe they wouldn’t go after them.

What about tomorrow? What about my one last fight? Am I afraid? No. Why should I? I’ve come this far, sacrificing almost everything dear to me along the way, for my dream of having one great nation under a just rule of mine. It’s not about bravery or cowardice at all. Everyone is afraid just like everyone is brave. Only some people are brave for some time longer, for some time they need to make their dream come true. It’s a good dream and worth fighting for, worth living for, worth dying for, worth going to Hell for.

Tomorrow I’ll fight one last time for that dream. Whether or not I win, my efforts to make the dream come true will live forever. My name will live forever. Will I be remembered as a villain or a hero? It doesn’t really matter. If I lost this one last fight, so be it. Let those usurpers live in this unhappy world, while I am going to another world. Who is happier than I? I reigned on earth. I was just. I laughed. I sang. I loved my friends and wive. I protected my servants. I held out my hand to the afflicted. I knew all of human joys. I lived a full life.

I am a king. I am a man.

Tomorrow I’ll fight one last time.

 

One more fight. Just one last fight…

 

 

 

Author’s Note: This is an extended version of an old writing I made and posted somewhere else, and this serves as the basis of my graphic novel project.

 

 

Stamp

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~ by edwinlives4ever on June 3, 2015.

6 Responses to “MY NAME IS DURYODHANA”

  1. saya cuma pernah nonton mahabrata versi india. itu juga nggak tamat 😀

  2. Duryudana in Peter Brook’s Mahbharata was damn hawt!

  3. lived a full life..yeah
    kalimat terakhir itu nancap banget…bakar semangat

    btw koleksi film dll yang di mp lama ga ada ya disini? xixiix dulu baru download 1 film dan 1 buku

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