Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The World's First Anti-Hero (A Harsha Sankar Article)

The World's First Anti-Hero

Forsaken at birth by an unwed mother who would later become Queen, he would be found in a basket floating in a river by a charioteer and his wife, a poor but pious couple.

As he discovered his archery skills, he was discriminated against because of his parents' low standing. He then sought the tutelage of a famed military instructor by lying about his background. When by accident his teacher discovered his lie, he would be cursed that all his knowledge would fail him when his survival would depend upon it.

Later as he walking home in a forested area, he thought a wild animal was approaching him. He shot an arrow but killed a man's cow instead. The cowherd then cursed the young man,stating the he too would be killed when helpless.

There was this huge archery contest in which many participants attended. As expected, a certain ace archer dominated. Then this low caste individual suddenly crashed the gala.He equaled all the ace archer's feats and send the huge crowd into applause. While he was repeatedly insulted for his servant class status, there was a premier rogue prince who keenly observed his spectacular achievements and took him under his wing.

Many years later, the rogue prince's brothers and the ace archer's brothers would fight a civil war. The charioteer's son was banned from fighting for the first half, despite the rogue prince's insistence, because he was low caste. Eventually he would join the war and at the end, he would duel the ace archer in a life or death battle that would decide the war.As the fiercest battle ensued, his chariot's wheel got stuck in the mud. The curses indeed came to fruition as the ace archer's arrow would seal his fate.

His death spelled the end of this gruesome war. As the victors performed the last rites of their fallen, the Queen, mother of the Ace Archer and his brothers, told them they needed to honor one more: the charioteer's son. In total astonishment, they asked why they should for someone they considered so villainous. The Queen mother explained that he was indeed her abandoned son and thus their elder brother.

Stunned by the revelation, they realized all his great deeds and then bestowed unto him. As in the case of all anti-heros, he was honored only after his death.

Such is the story of Karna.


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