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Chapter 33: The Graduation Ceremony

Posted by Arun Mohan ~ on ~ 0 comments

Drona prepared a contest to showcase the talents of Kuru princes he teach in front of the people of Hastina-puri. Arjuna won the archery competitions held and he became the star pupil of both Pandavas and Kauravas. Everyone cheered for Arjuna and this filled Kunti with immense pride.
Suddenly, a stranger entered the contest, who was another archer. He wore a pair of earrings attached to his ears and brilliant armour that clung to his chest. Introduced himself as Karna, he challenged Arjuna. Drona asked him to outdo what Arjuna did. Karna performed all of Arjuna’s achievements and did better that what Arjuna did. This earned him the praise of the crowds. The Pandavas, who until then were the centre of attention, now felt small and neglected.

Suddenly Adiratha, a charioteer of the royal stables came to the spot and hugged Karna.  He then said to the crowd that he is proud of his son Karna. Instantly, Bhima shouted that Karna can’t challenge the princes since he was not a Kshatriya. The Bhima’s words hurt Karna. Suddenly Duryodhana came to Karna’s rescue and he pointed out that only skill is matter and not in birth. Duryodhana added that Karna is a Kshatriya by his skills and that’s enough to become one of them. Yudhishtira then argued that Dharma states that a man should be what his father is. Karna is the son of charioteer and therefore he can’t be a Kshatriya. Karna incidentally want to tell pandavas that he was actually not a son of charioteer, but was only raised by a charioteer. But he remained silent, since he had no answer for his father and mother’s clan. Since he was an orphan abandoned at birth in the river and founded by Adiratha.

Duryodhana then came in support of Karna and he told to the crowd that Karna is a great archer and he would be his close friend from now and anybody who insults karna should be like insulting him. Duryodhana then turned to his father, Dhritarashtra and said him to make karna the warlord. Dhritarashtra who could never deny his son anything, made Karna as the king of Anga. Karna felt a lump in his throat, since Duryodhana rescued him from pandavas arguments. Karna then decided to oblige Duryodhana and made a statement that he would serve Kauravas till the day he died. The Pandava protests were strongly argued by Kaurava for Karna.

Bhishma sensed the family quarrel was becoming a public show. On one side Pandavas and the other side Kauravas is abusing each other. Suddenly Kunti in the pavilion of royal women cried and fainted. Everyone rushed to her side. Taking benefit of this instant, Bhishma declared the contest to be officially closed and ordered both Pandavas and Kauravas to return to their palace. Watching the quarrels between the grandsons, Satyavati decided to leave the palace along with Ambika and Ambalika to forest. The anxiety between Kunti and Gandhari is increasing day by day.

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