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Karna : The anti-hero we need

What comes to your head when you hear the word Mahabharata? War, Weapons, chariot, bows- arrows, Arjuna, Krishna, or maybe Geeta. Well, whatever your idea may be of Mahabharata, one thing you certainly can’t ignore is this mythical being Karna. It would not be unfair to say that Karna was perhaps the unluckiest dude who ever walked on this earth.

The greatest warrior of his times Karna is considered as an epitome of selflessness, but this legend has his own share of sorrow and misery. Born as the eldest son of Kunti (unmarried) and Suryadev (the Sun God), he was left to rot in wilderness and pain, Yes his mother disowned him the very day he was born. Adopted and raised by his foster parents, Karna grew up to be a man of an exemplary combat skills, a perfect orator, and sheer will. Maybe that’s why the ruthless prince of Kuru Dynasty, Duryodhana befriended him giving birth to a friendship that will remain immortal till the end of the time.

And when it comes to Friendship, who else could explain this oxytocin-induced phenomenon better than Karna himself.  It would not be unjust to assert that it was his mastery in martial arts and combat that led Duryodhana to take the mighty Pandavas head on. He was the founding pillar, the backbone and the heart and soul of the dreadful Kaurava army. And when Lord Krishna, the mentor, and charioteer of Arjuna realized that they can’t meet victory untill Karna fights for Duryodhana’s side, he devised this smart plan to tell Karna about his true parentage.

Upon realizing that he is going to fight against his own blood brothers, Karna was left shattered and broken but this is what something that makes him greater than all the heroes combined in the Epic Mahabharata. Instead of fighting for his own brothers Karna chose Duryodhana.
Why? because Friendship you see.

He chose his loyalty over his family ties, being the eldest one of the Pandavas he was to be the rightful King of the empire but he chose to serve Duryodhana, the man who gave him the purpose of his life, the man who gave respect and credit to this illegitimate and abandoned son of Kunti.

Apart from being the greatest warrior, Karna is very well renowned for his generosity and humanity. A man of principles and values he gifted his mystical armour (the source of his strength) to Indra who disguised himself as a needy brahmin upon Lord Krishna’s request, knowing that this donation may cause him his life.
But, Values you see.

Impressed and enchanted by his generosity Lord Krishna himself bowed down to this unfortunate Prisoner of Fate. Despite being on the losing side, Karna emerged as the ultimate winner of this legendary battle of Mahabharata. A man who chose death over betrayal, pride over fear and sorrow over temptation. Karna’s life portrays the dilemma our modern society faces and its mesmerizing to know that beyond Lord Krishna and Arjuna, there rests an anti-hero our world can look up to and get inspired.

To conclude this I would just pray that Lord blesses me with a friend to stand by my side just like Karna stood up for Duryodhana.


Mayank Gautam

Graduate in Politicial Science from University of Delhi and pursuing Bachelors in Law from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. Always open to rock music and deep talks.

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