The book titled The Flaming Tresses of Draupadi, has the politician narrating the story from Draupadi’s point of view.
No matter how packed his days are as a politician, Dr M. Veerappa Moily makes time every morning to pen his thoughts. his recently published book of poems has him narrating the story of the mahabharata as a soliloquy in draupadi’s voice
One of the strongest characters in Indian mythology is a woman who stood tall, firm, defiant, virtuous and strong even through the toughest of situations and challenges. As someone who was subjected to humiliation and rose above insults and hardships, Draupadi faced battles head on. This strong character from the Mahabharata was the inspiration for politician and author Dr M.Veerappa Moily, when he decided to write his second book of poems.
The book titled The Flaming Tresses of Draupadi, has the politician narrating the story from Draupadi’s point of view. “The book, which is a soliloquy, unlike many other epic poems, was originally written in Kannada, and has been translated into English by D.A. Shankar. I wrote the story putting myself in Draupadi’s shoes and I believe this is one of the most powerful mediums through which one can speak one’s heart out,” Moily elaborates about the book.
He adds, “I was looking for strong female characters as inspiration for this book, and my wife, Malathi, suggested Draupadi from the Mahabharata. I couldn’t have found a character more intriguing or complex. I traced her life and journey — from her birth from the sacrificial fire to her marriage to the five Pandava brothers, to losing her honour to the Kauravas.”
For many a statesman, life revolves around political debates and decisions, power tussles and high-level meetings. For Moily, a leader of the Indian National Congress from Karnataka, writing is an inseparable element of his everyday life.
“My mother, Poovamma, was illiterate, but she understood the importance of adhering to routine when it came to reading and writing. She used to wake me up every morning at 4.30 am, light a kerosene lamp and watch me study. She would sit by my side. This used to happen even till midnight sometimes. She shaped my life significantly, and later on, my wife had a major role to play in my life. Ever since, it’s a ritual to sit down at my table every morning and write, no matter how busy the day seems. I remember once when my mother was alive, she walked into my room at around 5 am, and left the room after she saw me writing. She always had her ways of testing my routine! I was the chief minister of Karnataka at that time,” opens up the former Union minister.
The story of Draupadi is all the more relevant in the current context for the kind of spirit she had as a woman, says the poet who loves Economics as ardently as cricket. “When we see today the atrocities being committed against women, and also how women are being exploited, Draupadi becomes all the more relevant. She was subjected to oppression, exploitation but she was not cowed down with the fear of defeat, nor did she blame anyone. She was the architect of her own life and also the Kurukshetra War. She was a very practical woman who fought her struggles all by herself, even though Krishna was a very good friend of hers,” he says.
The story is not just of Draupadi but chronicles women power, points out Moily. “When we compare the times of the Mahabharata to today, there still aren’t many women politicians today. This is something that concerns me, and this issue concerned Draupadi as well. Many a time, in our country, we have subdued the power of women. This country cannot be liberated unless women are liberated,” explains the political leader-author who has also penned a few novels in Kannada like Kotta and Tembare, in which he explored varied societal issues.