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Kunti: Her Other Face

Unwed, given birth to a child, and afraid of stigma,
you discarded the new born in a basket on the river,
not thinking if it could survive the naked elements.
A charioteer of lowly origin picked up and raised him,
showering along with wife parental care, affection.

You saw him again, then Karna, the luminous archer,
recognised him from his kavach kundal, but kept quiet.
He was insulted, denied for his low origin the chance
he deserved to contest with disciples of Dronacharya.
Shame of being a mother out of wedlock held you back.

When you found that the prized gift to be divided
among your sons, as you had wished, was a woman,
you did not realise how it would impact on Draupadi
while sharing her body and mind with five husbands.
And you yielded mutely to untenable justification!

Finally, at a crucial moment of the war you met Karna,
disclosed the secret of his birth, asked him to defect,
luring him with the supreme position as your eldest son.
Why did you wait so long to tell Karna who he was?
Was it to protect him or to secure safety of Pandavas?

Karna refused your offer, remaining firm in his sense
of loyalty, preferring to die as a warrior with honour,
yet pledging that you would still remain mother of five.
You went back. Was it assurance resting on your face
or a concealed drop of tear welling up in your eyes?
*Kunti - mother of Pandavas in Mahabharata
*Dronacharya - military arts master of Pandavas
and Kauravas
*kavach kundal - a mythical armour Karna born with

by Ajit Das

Comments (1)

A beautifully conceived historical poem in which the character of unwed mother along with her woes and limitations/apprehensions have been beautifully narrated. Kunti's helplessness too has been depicted though with a radar. Thanks for sharing.10 points.