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Shakuni - An Evil For A Cause

Shakuni – An Evil Statesman For A Cause

Anyone who has read or seen Mahabharata can never forget the character of Shakuni. He is clever, cunning, intelligent, and evil personified. Shakuni is indeed one of the major reasons that the Kurukshetra war happened. He has had a major influence on the Kauravas from their childhood, especially Duryodhana – the eldest of the lot. However, his deeds and actions were not plain evil. He did everything to seek revenge from Bhishma. In fact, he had no intention to harm or instigate anyone but only take revenge from Bhishma.

Shakuni is the brother of Gandhari – the wife of Dhritarashtra. It all began when Bhishma came to seek a matrimonial alliance of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra. Shakuni and Subala (his father) were infuriated with the idea of Gandhari marrying a blind man. Gandhari hated darkness from childhood and could not even stand in dark rooms. However, they could not stop the alliance from happening.

Some versions even say that Gandhari was a Manglik and had to be married off to a tree to nullify the astrological defect. This idea of Gandhari being a Manglik made Dhritarashtra furious and he ordered the murder of the whole family. They all were imprisoned – including Shakuni and Subala. It did not end at imprisonment and they were tortured and deprived of food and any basic human decency. They got only one grain of rice per person. Subala had 100 sons and Shakuni was the youngest. Subala and the other 99 sons sacrificed their food and gave it to Shakuni so that he would be able to survive and avenge their death. Shakuni thus survived and escaped the prison. He had the blessings of his father that he would become the best statesman and a shrewd politician second to none.

Shakuni grew up and in order to seek revenge and remember the torture the clan of Hastinapur did to him and his family, he even stabbed his own leg and swore to avenge their deaths. Shakuni saw Duryodhana as gullible and easily influenced. He started brainwashing Duryodhana and instigating him to create friction in the family.

Shakuni might not have succeeded in his minor plots and plans such as killing the Pandavas in the house of wax, killing Bhima by poisoning his food, or making the Pandavas lose everything in the game of dice. His major role was the game of dice. The dice were made of the bones of his father Subala and it is said that the soul of Subala resided in the dice. This is why the Pandavas lost every time and succumbed to the cunning of Shakuni.

Shakuni was an active participant in the war from the Kauravas’ side too. He had immersed himself in the motive so badly that he did not care about his own life. He had his own share of minor victories and defeats against other warriors in the war. He was eventually killed by Sahadeva, who had taken an oath to kill the mastermind behind the Cheer Haran of Draupadi.

Shakuni might come off as an extremely evil and cunning character with no mercy in him but he has had a history of his own that made him forget everything and sink in the ocean of revenge.

Click here to read the story of Bhishma And 5 Arrows.

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