ABHINAY THEATRE 2005 PROGRAM
(Solo performance by Aishvarya Nidhi)
Directed by Arvind Gaur
When: 530pm, July 29, 2005
Where: NIDA Theatre, Kensington NSW 2033
Gandhari is one of the tragic characters of Mahabharata, the great Indian mythological epic and is very relevant
to the contemporary socio-political context. She was born a princess, but was forced to marry a blind man, Dhritrashtra, who
was much older to her.
She had a boon that she will bear 100 sons, which later became a curse. Bhishma, the granduncle
of blind Dhritarashtra , forced Gandhari's father, the King of Gandhar, to negotiate the marriage.
Gandhari tied a strip of cloth on her eyes and vowed to lead a blindfolded life. Although it is popularly believed she did
so to experience the blind world of Dhritarashtra, Gandhari's resolve to remain blindfolded was a silent protest against the
power games and the forced marriage. Eventually, she became the mother of 100 sons, the Kauravas, and one daughter, Dusshala.
She remained blind to the power games, hatred and the growing animosity between her sons and their first cousins, the Pandavas,
which later led to the great war of Kurukshetra.
The relevance of the play in the contemporary world is it highlights
the anti-war theme and the role of women, especially the mother in educating the society to give up violence. Gandhari was
a very strong and intelligent woman, who closed her eyes to protest against her marriage which was a violation of her right
as a woman, at a time when her contemporaries like Kunti and Madri were free to choose their husbands. As a result, Gandhari
grew indifferent to everything that was happening with her sons and the Pandavas. She even remained blind to the insult of
the wife of the Pandavas, Draupadi.
Later, she refused to bless her sons for Kurukshetra and remained strong in her
anti-war and pro-justice stand. But if she had been aware about her power and control over her sons, she would have used it
to prevent the war and eventual death of her sons.
by Dr.Sangeeta Gaur