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The exotic and fiery Empress of Indraprastha. {5000 B.C.E}

The homely and cool headed diplomat cum Kingmaker. {370 B.C.E}

What possible thread could bind them?

Draupadi as portrayed by Rupa Ganguly  chanakya

I] The loosened HAIR, the oath for REVENGE:

Chanakya was insulted in full court by King Dhanananda. Stung at this barb, Chanakya unfurled his shikha (knotted braid) and swore not to tie it until Dhanananda’s evil rule was demolished.


Draupadi, heinously insulted in Hastinapur’s court. Verbally, physically and psychologically – swore not to braid her hair until her sinners, the Kauravas were avenged in battle.

In both cases, their righteous rage led to a ‘Constructive Destruction’, i.e destruction of evil for the sake of dharma.

II] Eloquence:

Chanakya, highly LEARNED in politics, religion, science, legal system, astronomy, geography and mathematics. His Chanakya –neeti one–liners trend as quotable quotes to this day.

As for Draupadi, who can forget her blistering speech at the dice game of Hastinapur? She scoured logic, dharma and shastras. Her questions transformed the atmosphere  from brutality to logic.

Her assertive question, ‘If Yudhisthir had pledged himself first, how can I still be pledged or won?’ still remains unanswered across 5000 years.

III]  Efficient Governance:

Unfortunately, debates around Draupadi begin and end at her polyandry. Unfortunate that many cannot elevate their mind beyond the mundane.

Her conversation with Satyabhama in Vana-Parva, however highlights her amazing efficiency.

Draupadi, the Administrator, Personnel Manager & Organizational Wizard:

Quote, ‘1,00,000 maids employed in my husbands’ palaces and 1,00,000 maids waiting upon Indraprastha’s guests. I knew the names and features of all those girls. I was the one who regulated their number and framed the rules to be observed in respect of them.

Indeed, I knew everything about what the maid-servants, the other classes of attendants, even the cow-herds and the shepherds of the royal establishment, did or did not.’ she says with casual competence.

Draupadi, the C.A & Treasurer  – “I alone knew the income and expenditure of Indraprasth’s King and what their whole wealth was.  I alone supervised their treasury inexhaustible like the ever-filled receptacle of Varuna.’’

Chanakya’s  “Arthshastra” is the final word in monetary and fiscal policies, public welfare, international relations and war strategies in detail.  He was the ‘Mastermind’ behind mighty Chandragupta, whose Maurya Empire stretched across the length and width of Bharat.

IV] Justice and Danda-Niti:

Here is Draupadi speaking to Krishn, “Nothing would come out of SAMA, conciliation with the Kauravas,  nor from DAMA, charity to them.  With men not open to conciliation or charity there is only one way if you want to protect your life: DANDA, violence, use of force.

“Those who know dharma understand that it is as much a sin NOT to punish those who deserve punishment as to punish those who do not deserve it.”

Although Chanakya advocated SAMA-DAMA-DANDA-BHED, he completely agreed with Draupadi on Justice.

He says, ‘Whoever imposes severe punishment becomes repulsive to the people; while he who awards mild punishment becomes contemptible. But whoever imposes PUNISHMENT AS DESERVED becomes respectable.

“Dandaniti requires state power to protect the weak against coercion and exploitation by the mighty. Otherwise there would be no good and honest men left in the world.’

V] Both were Vishu devotees

Chanakya was also known as Vishnugupta. His Arthshastra begins with a tribute to Vishnu.

Draupadi , escalating beyond bhakti-rasa, was immersed in maitra-rasa (friendship) with Krishn (Vishnu avatar).

Do you think the striking similarities are mere co-incidence?

Do you know other historical figures with comparative life events?