Thursday, January 6, 2011

What if Ekalavya Said No?

I was quite surprised when I was going through Times of India online paper this morning about Ekalavya.

Dronacharya's act was shameful, says SC - The Times of India

Apparently, Supreme court has lashed out on Dronacharya's (Drona) act as shameful for asking the thumb of Ekalavya as Guru Dakhsina.
How the supreme court has time for this with so many pending cases is beyond me and besides the point. Before I rush to defend Drona's act, let me explain the story of Ekalavya in short.

Ekalavya was the young prince of Nishada tribes. He used to live near the ashram where Drona was teaching various arts to Pandavas. Ekalavya wants to join the class but was refused by Drona because Ekalavya belonged to lower caste.

Not to be put off, the brave Ekalavya, makes an idol of Drona in a jungle and teaches himself the art of archery. He learns so much so that his skills are far more superior to Arjuna, Drona's best student.

One day while Ekalavya was practicing archery in the jungle a dog starts to bark relentlessly. Ekalavya shoots arrows at it in such a way that the dogs mouth is filled with arrows but the dog is unharmed.

Seeing the dog like that, pandavas go in search of who had done such a great art. Ekalavya then says that Drona was the teacher.
Then, Drona asks for the thumb of Ekalavya as guru dhakshina so that Arjuna is still the best when it comes to archery. Ekalavya complies.
This is the story.

many people criticize Drona for doing this and many people commend the dedication Ekalavya had to sweetly comply with guru's wish.

Now, I personally think that Drona was not wrong in asking for thumb (in other words, punishing him professionally). First of all in the olden days caste system was followed. Every caste people had their business. Like Khatriyas protect the country, Brahmans perform puja's etc etc. So, we cannot blame Drona for not taking in Ekalavya.

Secondly, what exactly was Ekalavya trying to prove when he made an idol out of Drona? I mean, it was clear that Drona didnt want to teach him. So, Ekalavya should have respected that and should not have made that idol.
Also, when Pandavas ask who his teacher was...he says it was Drona. Why? This could have potentially gotten Drona killed if Pandavas actually believed Ekalavya. Also, its unethical to say he was Drona's pupil when he was not.

You can't teach yourself quantum mechanics by reading Feynman's book and then claim that you learnt quantum mechanics from Feynman himself.

For that reason alone, Ekalavya had deceived Drona and Drona had a right to ask him the thumb.

Also, what if Ekalavya said 'No' for giving the thumb?

Then, he would have gotten killed. Perhaps he stood a chance fighting Arjuna alone but not Drona and Arjuna together. In order to save his own life, he gracefully let his thumb go.

I am not saying this is what has happened but it a possibility that this is what was going on in Ekalavya's mind.

What say everyone?


  1. VEry aptly analysed..I agree, specially when Eklavya says his guru was Drona.

  2. Sc doesnt have any other work to do ? umm..Interesting thoughts- I dont think i have a concrete view on this-my allegiances are see-sawing every minute,but your arguments sound logical.

  3. i dont know about SC or anything But sorry i am not with you on this one .. I feel Drona was selfish and he shud not have asked for the thumb knowing well that he wud not be able to use the bow and arrow again..

    Even if it was the caste system, Even in those days Human beings were HUMAN after all.. I side with eklavya he did what the guru said , so he proved to be a good student not questioning his guru.. which meant DRONA thought himself to be the guru thats why he asked for a daskshina.. so How can a GURU do injustice to his desciple...

    When Drona took the dakshina he was the GURU and Eklavya the Desciple.. Caste doesnot come in this issue...


  4. U dont know full story.Guru Dronacharya reestablish the thumb of Eklavya with his divine powers.