Dr. Rajani Jairam,

Professor of Sanskrit and Dean (Student Welfare), JAIN (Deemed-to-be University)

The Department of Languages, conducted the ‘Meet the Author’ webinar. Smt. Koral Dasgupta, an eminent Indian author and literary entrepreneur was invited to throw light on the topic ‘KUNTI - Modernity and Motherhood in Myth & Literature’ as part of an effort to understand mythological characters from a contemporary perspective.

Dr. Rajani Jairam, Professor of Sanskrit and Dean (Student Welfare), JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), welcomed Smt. Koral Dasgupta and introduced her through her writings and publications

Beginning with a discussion of female characters in mythology and offering a comprehensive understanding of mythological figures from a variety of perspectives, Ms. Koral moved on to the topic of mythical characters in general. She gave an overview of her Sati series of books, and discussed the concepts that motivated her to create this series in its first form. She stated that she was curious to learn more about the lives of the Pancha Kanyas of Indian mythology, all of whom had relationships with men other than their spouses and yet are respected as the most educated women, whose purity of mind reigns supreme over purity of body. She mentioned that the five volumes in the Sati series reimagines these women and their husbands in a contemporary setting, with a feminist consciousness at the forefront.

T he story of Kunti being given three boons for having served Durvasa maharshi as a result of which she begot her three sons was explored. The speaker drew attention to Kunti’s status as a Kshatriya woman as well as her role as a mother.

Kunti, who has been passed down from generation to generation, has been described as a remarkable matriarch in the Mahabharata who nurtured her five sons in Ms. Dasgupta’s writings. In contrast to how our ancient texts and literature portray Kunti’s dignity in motherhood, Koral Dasgupta’s discussion just like in her novel ‘Kunti’ (Book two in the Sati Series) delves into a hidden aspect of Kunti’s existence and reveals it to us. Dasgupta depicts Kunti’s adolescence, and explores her character as a seeker, learner and lover.

During the presentation, the amicable relationship between Kunti-Pandu and Madri was discussed. The speaker recounted how Kunti invoked the divine powers of the deities and gave birth to Karna, Yudhishthira, Bhima and Arjuna, as well as how she shared her boon with Madri for the sake of Nakula and Sahadeva. The understanding between Kunti and DraupadI, and the equation of Kunti, DraupadI and Bhishma to the throne was also discussed. Also highlighted were the characters of Amba and Sita. The speaker therefore provided a highly informative lecture, with particular focus on legendary female characters from the epics.