I changed over from Marathi to English for my comments on Shri. Oak's book recently. I continue to get readers but there are no comments! Wonder whether I am boring!
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Drona and Pandavas -- 6
During the first 10 days of the war, Bhishma was in charge of Kourava Army. Drona kept a secondary role and on many occasions, specially on the tenth day, asked all main warriors to protect Bhishma. He may have hoped, like Bhishma, that after the war goes on for some days, a compromise can take place. He was obviously not keen on killing any Pandava brothers. His enemy was Drupada and his sons.
On 10th day Bhishma finally fell down. He declared that he will hold on to life until Uttarayan begins. On 11th day Duryodhana had to select a replacement Senapati. Karna was now ready to fight. Duryodhana did not bypass Drona and select Karna. Pandavas’ main supporters, Panchalaas were still more or less intact and Drona was needed to face them. On being designated as senapati Drona asked Duryodhan what he wanted to do. Duryodhan also wanted now to end the war but on his terms! He asked Drona to capture Yudhishthira. Drona expressed surprise and pleasure that he did not want Yudhishthira killed. Duryodhan said if Yudhishthira was killed, Pandawas would be furious and will never give up. So his plan was to capture Yudhishthir and make him play Dyuta again and banish the Pandawas for ever! Drona agreed to do it but made it clear that so long as Arjun was around to protect Yudhishthir, even Drona himself also wont be able to capture Yudhishthir. ‘Keep him engaged elsewhere and I will do what you want.’
One can speculate what would have happened if the plan had worked. Drona was probably reconciled to Pandavas’ fate if he succeeded, as that was a lesser evil than killing them all (which, in any case, was not easy).
From 11th day onwards the war-aim was to capture Yudhishthira and the strategy for that was to draw away Arjuna from the main front! For first two days although Arjun was challenged by the Trigarta king and his brothers, Arjuna retained control and whenever a cricis arose he intervened to hold back Drona. When Duryodhana expressed unhappiness, Drona again said ‘ Keep Arjuna away’. On 13th day, the Trigartas again offered to make maximum effort to keep Arjuna engaged. 13th day was unexpectedly eventful.