Duryodhana: A Hero or Villain

Mahabharata is one of the greatest epics of Indian civilization. It falls into categories of “Ithihaas” which has literal meaning “History”. Maha-Bharat is the story of two clans- Kuru and Pandavas who were part of Kuru kingdom in Northern India.

Now, recently I came across a brilliant argument based on Duryodhana. The Argument said that Duryodhana was batter human being than Pandavas because he was less racist and had the great sense of Friendship with Karna. He was unnecessarily blamed for Yudhisthar dice addiction and he was rightful of Owner of Kuru Kingdom.

Before we jump to answer this very complex argument, I would like to discuss the history of arguments.

During Post Nehru era when Indian socialism was started to fade after the death of Pundit Nehru. Internal dispute of Indian National Congress gives birth to various parallel socialism created by Ram Manohar lohiya and Kashiram which was based on Dalit atrocities and Baba Shahab Ambedkar literature. Dalit socialism comes into the light. The argument was used that Hinduism inherited the caste system and this was backed by  Western interpretation of Manu and Social structure which was discriminated towards Dalits at large.  For making it more racial, Western scholars started to use two analogical tools: Political Philology and Confirmation bias into Indian Epics.

Political Philology defined as

Political philology is “an active mode of understanding” texts. It does not simply take (religious) texts at face-value as religious texts without any connection to a social and political context, but situates them in a historical context, and is sensitive to the social and political implications and usages of a (religious) text.

Many Western scholars used Indian epics as non-sacred, misinterpreted understanding of ancient society and connect it with current state social problem for discreditied the sacredness of Hinduism.

Confirmation bias defined as

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias,[Note 1] is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.[1] It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. Confirmation bias is a variation of the more general tendency of apophenia.

Outsider: I would like to address my opponent this term “Outsider” which literal meaning that “An intellectual who used confirmation bias and philology to find atrocities literature into Indian epics for justifying the current Indian state social evil and linking it for digesting purpose of Dharma”. I wanted to clarify that it means no ethnicity. Many Indians are the outsider and many westerners are the insider or vice versa. This word means no disrespect but opposite view for using nondharmic analogical lense towards scripture. 

Duryodhana was not the believer of caste system

Now, While we have to understand that how Outsider uses predetermined social analogical tools for searching atrocities in sacred texts. We can analyze the claims based on Dhuryodhana which was formed by outsider:-

Unlike the majority of the characters, Duryodhana didn’t believe in Caste system. He inducted both Karna and Eklavya into his army. Yes, Karna was a Kshatriya but nobody including Karna himself knew that.

“Suta” is not “Shudra”

The problem with the concentrated image of Duryodhana that his whole character was considered good with one act of greatness towards Karna and Eklayvya. The problem that in this notion, outsider uses the notion of confirmation bias for Pandavas. Outsider argues that Pandva hadn’t said anything during the challenge so, Pandavas agreed for the caste system. Now I would not go into length to answer this question that Indeed Duryodhan showed the great act of friendship when he favors Karna. But the problem lies with the misinterpretation of the word “Suta Putra” i.e. Son of the charioteer. Liberals intentionally wanted to believe that the Job charioteer was low caste job so Karna was low caste. I strongly disagree with this notion. Krishna himself was charioteer of Arjuna and nowhere it was mentioned as “low caste job”. Even Arjuna himself ride the chariot of Son for King Virata. So, by no means, the word “Suta” was low caste job in the context of Mahabharata. Because “Suta” and “Sudra” has superficially sound almost same so Outsider misinterpreted it.

Now the question is that why Did not Pandavas says against the challenge of Karna and why Duryodhana help?

Pandvas was newly trained when Dronacharya arranges public display. That was Challenge between two clans for showing their skills in front of the people. The problem lies with Dronacharya attitude with people who were Non- Kashtiriya . Dronacharya never likes Non-Kashtriya. because he thinks that people who are non-kashtriya are weak. He himself was Brahmin but expert in archery and army knowledge. He was ditched by King Draupad so he decided to become powerful like Kashtriya. Another side he loved his son more than anyone (Because of his son he begged for money from King Draupad who throw him out). In fact, he taught Brahmastra to his son aswathama only but never teach this to Arjuna itself. Pandvas was used by Dronacharya for taking revenge against King Draupad . He was aware of Karna skills and wanted to discourage it by pumping pride into Pandavas for completeness for his plan to defeat King Draupad . why Pandavas have not said anything because they have been trained to obey his guru Duryodhana. Duryodhana who was not very fond of Duryodhana. Duryodhana was excited by Karna challenge and really wanted to test him against Arjuna. But due to the precondition (only a king can take part in challenge) of Duryodhana. he was forced to give him the land of Anga. But still, Duryodhana hate towards non-Kshatriya had killed that completion.

Fact: Karna was not disqualified because he was belongs to low caste . He was disqualified because of Duryodhana sheer hate towards Karna and his hidden plan to take revenge from King Droupad. Duryodhana indeed shows big heart for Karna but it was just taking on allies with him for his long-lasting revenge from Pandavas. I don’t find that there is anything for blaming Pandavas.

Duryodhana was in deep friendship with Karna

He was a true friend. If it was not so, he would have ditched Karna later. But we see Duryodhana and Karna sharing an unbreakable bond of friendship through their successes and failures. It was Karna’s death that Duryodhana mourns more than that of even his brothers a true testimony of the friendship.

There is no doubt that the biggest assets for Duryodhana were Karna. He never trusted Bhishma, Duryodhana, Kripacharya and even his own father. Duryodhana always thought that they all were fighting because they were all bounded with Raj-Dharma. Bhishma had taken the vow to serve throne of Kuru. Dronacharya had nothing to get from Pandavas but he bent because of his son chose to fight for Duryodhana. Dronacharya was very fond to his only son which later become the reason of his death. Kripacharya was bounded by King Dhritarashtra words. However, the only person who truly hates Pandavas was Karna. Karna and Duryodhana even share the same type of hatred that was “revenge for position for which they thought they were suitable”. This bond was deep than even friendship, it was like deep love but when Karna died in battle, Duryodhana lost his all hope to ever win the war. He actually wept for his loss of an asset than a friend.

Fact: Duryodhana was wept for Karna as an asset than a friend.

Pandavas were at fault for Dice loosing

He is blame for many events. For example, when he lured the Pandavas for a game of dice, Yudhishtira accepted the challenge saying that it is unbecoming of Kings to refuse a game of dice. Using the same logic, Duryodhana is well within the dharma to throw that challenge. What I find more dispicable is the fact that Yudhishthira placed his own wife on a bet, which is condemnable and act of mysogny. He considered women as an object.

Well, here we need to go deep down into context. The Outsider blames Yudhishtar for his pride that a king can’t refuse the challenge. But it is laughable that the same Yudhisthar denied the challenge of the fight given by Duryodhana after the exile of 13 years. The same Yudhishthira denied the challenge of Kichaka who wanted to sleep with Draupadi during their hidden exile. So this notion that Yudhisthar had accepted every challenge for pride is misinterpreted.  Yudhisthar was addicted for Dice, No doubt that but this whole notion of accepting the challenge has nothing to do with his nature of dharma. but his blind respect  Dhritarashtra. Duryodhana was himself aware that if he will call directly Yudhistar for dice play, he will never show up. So Duryodhana used his weak father (King of Kuru) for sending proposal where it’s clearly mentioned that the dice plays was between Duryodhan and Yudhisthar (none other than that) which Yudhishthira was unable to refuse. But Duryodhana plays the trick and offer the Shakuni instead of him. I think that was the turn of event, here I think Yudhisthar should have stopped but his utmost practice of being righteous become his weakness.

Was Yudhisthar alone was responsible for Droupadi Humiliation?

I think Yudhisthar was not alone responsible for Draupadi humiliation. We can understand this by Story by Rama actions towards Sita. Rama even after fighting for Sita? Ask her to prove her purity? he again left Sita after getting blame once more? I think here we need to enlarge our wisdom from this and understand that Rama and Yudhisthara lived in utmost dedication towards dharma which can be good for society but harmful to personal lives. Indeed Yudhisthar was stupid to bet Draupadi which Draupadi discourse inform of Kings in the later stage that Who is Yudhistar to bet her? Where is Dharma?. 

For answering this question  I would like to explain the context seen, Yudhistar had the utter habit to be righteous even in any case while Duryodhana was aware of his weakness. When they started to lose everything, Duryodhana provokes them to invest more in exchange for the complete kingdom of Indraprastha. Yudhistar was the sheer believer of Dharma and thought that his goodness will protect him and in his blind understanding of Dharma (by ignoring the law of karma) he bet Draupadi and loss. But Should we call him misogynist? I don’t think so, Yudhisthara character shows that an utmost believes in goodness will doomed humans.

Now Examine, Why not Outsider call Duryodhana misogynist  while he was:

  1. Duryodhana act with Draupadi as the pervert.
  2. Karna suggests that she should sit on Duryodhana lap. (The same person who always cried for discrimination in the whole epic).
  3. Duryodhana threatens her for more humiliation as Dasi.

I still need to understand that Why not Duryodhana was the pervert, misogynist and cruel when comes to dealing with women.

Gandhi Utmost believes in Ahimsa was doomed decision for many Hindus. Marx blind believes in class equality raise regime like Mao and Stalin which had killed Millions.

Fact: Yudhisthara was Ultra idealistic and his idealistic behavior doomed him so Lord Rama. The real culprit of this whole humiliation was Dhritarashtra who was even after being king fail to imply dharma because he was in deep love with Duryodhana.

Krishna was Gullible

krishna, infact claiming to be God did much deceit and treachery. He unethically responsible for the death of Dronachary, Ghatotkach and he even cheated on the 18th day which lead to Duryodhana’s death.

This notion of Outsider actually argue that, how Krishna used an unethical trick to win the game of war. I would say, Outsider simply imposed a blind perception of dharma on Krishna. One one side Liberal claim that “Krishna divinity was self-created myths by Vaishnavas over the period of time through various interpretation” but on other side Liberal want him to act like impeccable god. Here again, I have a disagreement with them. The concept of god has been taken from the western idea of God [5] which

1.(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.

2.(in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

Vedas simply defined god as “Brahman” which is highest Universal Principle [6], Here Outsider tried to digest Vedic meaning into western meaning of god. Krishna indeed a highly spiritually conscious person in Politics and Vedic dharma but he was not supreme principle. In Bhagwat gita he himself said that he is bounded under law of karma.

Chapter 3, Verse 22

O son of Prtha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.

Lets back to the notion that weather Krishna used gullies or not. I would say he didn’t used gullies but he made karma as weapon to destruct Pandavas’ enemy like Bhisma, Karna, Dhuryodhana and Dronacharya. Lets me briefly explain :

Bhishama died because of his vow to not fighting with a women and transgender. But Once he was young he capture three women (Amba. Ambika and Ambalika) for Kuru clan so they can start a new generation. Two out of three accepted the Kings of Kuru but One of them was in love with another king. After knowing her story Bhisma apologized to her and left her to her lover kingdom. Her lover simply reject her and she self immolate her self by taking plead to become instrument of Bhishma death. The same women born as Shinkandi which was in Pandavas side. Only Krishna told this to Arjuna so they can eradicate bhisma.

Karna was elder son of Kunti which later left by her because she was unmarried. He known as “Suta putra” which means “son of chariot holder” while many Outsider pronounce it as “shudra putra” which means son of lower caste to used against Brahmins communities. Moreover, Karna lied to his guru that he is not kshatriya for learning archery which later become curse on him that whenever he needed his skill utmost he forget. irrespective of this Karna direct envolvement into disrobe [rape attempt] of droupdai [pandav queen]  in public. later he simply killed by his consequence of action when he forget his art of fight when needed most and his chariot fall into mud as duropadi curse him. Irrespective of this, Krishna praise karna in front of Arjuna and Pandvas. Krishana told them to regard as highest throne holder after war.

Dronacharya He was teacher of kuravas and pandavs. But his love for his manic son aswathama was beyond limit. It was his son demand for milk [which he fail to comply due to poverty] which took him to drupad and ask for half kingdom as promised by King drupad  [his childhood friend]. Droupad simply denied and abuse him. Later Dronacharya used his students [Pandavas and Kurvas] to humiliate him and snatch his half kingdom. Insulted by this behaviour he invoke son from yagna which later in fight beheaded dhorna. irrespective of that angle, Dronacharya was the blind lover of his son, he tought him how to invoke, use and cancel Brahmastra. while he simply denied to Arjuna. These two factors Blind love for his son and unwanted humiliation of drupad become tools of his death. Krishna only suggests to the used blind love of Asawathama by lying to him about asawathama death.

 Dhuryodhana list of atrocities can’t be confined. From relentless jealous, blind greed for throne, attempt to rape with Queen Droupadi, invoking relatives against panvadas, throwing pandvas into Exodus and beyond that, his stupid and childish argument about gullies to Krishna at the end shows how self-centric and egoistic he was. He simply rejects the pledge of giving five villages to pandvas and when his legs broken by Bheema [which is actually promise took by Bhima during droupadi disrobe], he started complaining atrocities done by pandavas. its like a terrorist who killed thousands of people in war asking for Human rights for himself. well, beyond that during last fight, Yudhisthar has given him choice to fight one of them. He chose Bhima for his own.

Pandavas has no sense of Perfection

Pandav as were in no sense perfect. Their senseless pride leads to their death (except Yudhishthir). Compared to them I find Duryodhana much better.

Again here, I would like to said that if in Mahabharata I have to choose someone who was utterly unpractical and senseless – Than I would say it was Yudhistara. His blind understanding of Dharma had made him narcissistic in nature.

Duryodhana nowhere near in Pandavas because he was warmonger, perverted, egoistic, greedy and Pandav phobic when its come to deal with them. Duryodhana was indeed a great worrier but he has no ethics of war, life, and Dharma.

I don’t understand that in which sense he was batter. The most practical person of Mahabharata was Krishna. I agree with that fact that Duryodhana was practical and realistic than Yudhisthar.

Duryodhana was the real hire of the throne

Duryodhana’s claim to the throne is not entirely unfounded. Duryodhana had a genuine right to the throne as the son of Dhritarashtra, the eldest of his generation.

It’s beyond my understanding that how someone can come to this conclusion after reading whole Mahabharata.

  1. Dhritarashtra was never throne before Pandavas, he only gets throne when Pandav died. So Duryodhana claims died when his father never acquired the throne in the first place. Moreover, Dhritarashtra was never king but the caretaker of throne under the guide of Bhishma till the time Pandavs grow up. That was the verdict given by Kripacharya.
  2. The Duryodhana claim that he must installed as king of the throne of the kingdom was fulfilled after the first exile of Pandavas with mutual consent. Dhritarashtra intentionally gave Hastinapura (which was the jungle when given to them). The issue of Kingship was solved way long before the war.
  3. Duryodhana claim that he was angry on Draupadi insult was stupid. Duryodhana was not father loving son. He never finds that Driastarasta was king of his virtue. He always thought the King was weak and too lenient towards Pandavas. So the question is that why he got angry on insult while he had himself insult him by his actions. I think this was sued as a pretext by Duryodhana to avenge Pandavas. Nothing else.

Duryodhana was accepted as a fair administrator

Duryodhana was accepted as a fair administrator. It is evident on many occasions except when his cousins were present their presence always clouded the vision of Duryodhana.

He never had been a fully controlled administrator. He was a war warmonger, greedy, racist (in term of Krishna), pervert and last he was whinier. Even at the end when he lost with Bheema. He started to whine about the action of Krishana (while before the war, he was given choice to chose between Krishana and his army. He chose his army because of his hate towards krishana) while igonoring all his action of misdeed. He tried to kill pandvas, he playfully trick Yudhistara, he tried to public rape droupadi, He used every method to kill pandvas, he was killer of abhimanyu. But his narcissism didn’t end till last.


Liberal used political philology and conformation bias against Pandvas and Krishna while highlighted the part reality of Duryodhana. If we wanted to judge a person than we must judge him into the context of the whole story. We cant say that Hitlar was great men because his skills of managing the Nazi army was great. Or Obsama bin laden was great men because he had fight against Communist soviet to save Afghanistan.

We can not just said that Duryodhana was great because he was (pre assume) secular in caste. It is all false notion for the epic which talk about Dharma than the individual.


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