We’re at a crucial juncture wherein Karna is announcing his arrival at the “Big stage” for the first time since his birth. We have witnessed that Karna was born to Kunthi Devi, but was brought up by a charioteer family. He too enrolled himself with Guru Dhronaachaarya for the formal education along with the likes of Duryodhana, Arjuna, Bheemasena, etc. As the lessons got over, the “Ranga-Bhoomi” event was held at Hastinapura, where each and every child who had learnt under Guru Dhronaachaarya had to exhibit his talent and learning to the people of the kingdom, including the king himself. As this was happening, Arjuna was emerging as a clear outlier, as usual. However, when the gathering was about to announce this to the public, Karna stormed inside and dared Arjuna to take him down! A huge fight erupted between both of them with the bow and arrow and Karna was slowly having an edge over Arjuna! This enthralled the audience and the “high-command” sitting there, except Guru Dhronaachaarya, who was once again fearing whether Karna would outsmart Arjuna! It is to be noted that Guru Dhronaachaarya was having the same fear when Ekalavya challenged Arjuna, but he dealt with Ekalavya easily because he was just a mere hunter’s son. However, his tricks weren’t going to work with Karna to downplay him. Karna was emerging victorious and made the audience take note of his enormous power and precision with the bow and arrow.
Next, when Karna wanted to show his talent in the “Dvandha-Yuddha” with Arjuna, Guru Dhronaachaarya objected to it. He has had enough with Karna now! He doesn’t want Arjuna to be on the losing side and hence, tried to downplay Karna by saying that this is not the place for him to showcase his talents, as this is a place for princes only. However, unlike Ekalavya, Karna reacted firmly to Guru Dhronaachaarya’s argument and a heated debate burst out between the two of them in public! Karna demanded an answer for the injustice that was being meted out to him, just for the sheer reason of him being a charioteer’s son. Guru Dhronaachaarya on the other hand was unrelenting in his argument that Karna did not have the moral obligation to come into the “Ranga-Bhoomi”.
As this was going on, Duryodhana was sitting in the corner and observing the entire proceeding. He was first of all mighty impressed with Karna’s prowess with the bow and arrow. Upon looking at Karna’s innate precision in warfare, Duryodhana decided that there is someone here today, who can really give Arjuna a run for his money! Till date, Guru Dhronaachaarya was proclaiming to the entire lot that there’s never going to be anybody who could be better than Arjuna isn’t it? This was burning the fire of jealousy in Duryodhana all these days! However, upon seeing Karna who was a potential challenger to Arjuna’s capability, Duryodhana saw this as an opportunity to “use” Karna to bring Arjuna down!
With this intention, he immediately stepped in between the two of them who were arguing. Duryodhana talks thus, “Oh Guru! So your argument is that, Karna couldn’t take part in the “Ranga-Bhoomi” on par with all of us just because he is not a prince or a king, isn’t it? I shall change that today – From now onwards, Karna would be the king of “Anga-Desha”, which is not having a king till date because of various reasons. From today, Karna is on par with all of us and I’m announcing to all of them gathered here that he is also a prince and a king like all of us! Hence, he automatically obtains the right to exhibit his talent in warfare amidst this “Ranga Bhoomi”! Now Karna, you can exhibit and showcase to the world what you’ve got in you!”
This argument and announcement made by Duryodhana all of a sudden amidst the “Ranga-Bhoomi” did not go well with Guru Dhronaachaarya! He immediately raises an objection thus, “Oh Duryodhana! How can you make such abstract announcements just like that? Who gave you the power to do so? What qualification does this Karna have to rule a kingdom? What experience does he have to look into the administrative affairs of a kingdom? Neither you nor this entire gathering knows Karna’s capabilities! Just because Karna is good in the bow and arrow technique, how can he become a king of a state? This is not justifiable in any means!” As Guru Dhronaachaarya makes a sweeping statement thus, Duryodhana was in no mood to relent from his stance! He proceeded with coronating Karna as the king of the Anga-Desha then and there! This again, did not go well with Guru Dhronaachaarya and he stages a “walk-out” from the “Ranga-Bhoomi” because he felt that he was insulted by Duryodhana and the high-command seated there.
As this happens, Karna too felt extremely insulted! This insult was burning in Karna’s mind from this moment onwards and this continued till the end. Thus, Karna was looking at every opportunity to teach Guru Dhronaachaarya a befitting lesson for what he had done to him! On the other hand, Duroydhana decided that all his focus is now going to be on bringing up Karna’s popularity amidst the entire gatheringe, so that he could use Karna to challenge Arjuna in the warfield! This is how people planned against each other in the entire Mahabharata! This is just the beginning, and we’re going to see many more such things as we move in further! So for today, let us understand how Karna emerged from nowhere to become the king of Anga-Desha, all thanks to Duryodhana! Since Duryodhana was the only one who came to his rescue at a time wherein he was insulted left, right and center, Karna’s friendship with Duryodhana blossomed! We shall witness in the next episode, the continuation of this interesting and important discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂