Fragment of a collaborative and experimental audio-translation of Draupadī’s speech following Vastrāharaṇa (The Attempted Disrobing of the Empress), as presented in the 2013 rendition of the Mahābhārat. Created in the module ‘The Practice of Literary Translation’ of the Warwick Writing Programme with Sumithreyi Sivapalan. 🙂
Touch me not, Queen Mother Kuntī.
I will get besmirched.
I am no longer your daughter-in-law.
I am no longer your sons’ wife.
I am no longer the bride of the Kuru dynasty.
Now I am without husband, without name, without dynasty.
I am the fire that burns in the furnace. I am purity itself,
yet I feed on what is impure.
Today, in this sabhā, I have cried the tears of the women who walked this Earth.
Queen Mother Kuntī, Great Queen Gandharī, if you wish to save yourselves, renounce this sabhā and leave. Because this palace hall will break today.
I am no longer a human being. I am death itself, only death. I am the death of all the vile men present in this unjust sabhā today.
My curse is that, at this very moment…
No, Draupadī. Do not curse. Do not curse! Forgive them. Forgive us. I beg you, forgive us!
My curse is forgiveness in itself, Great Queen. If I have to punish, let it be in this lifetime. Every moment, they will suffer the agony of hell. Their pain will know no end.
No, my daughter. The woman who gives life cannot give death.
In taking one’s own life, one annihilates their body. In taking another’s life, one destroys the soul.
When a person destroys their soul, that is called self-annihilation.
In your anger, do not act like these men!
It is a woman’s duty to keep the house clean and it is a woman who purifies the house. It is a woman’s duty, as well, to keep this world clean, and only a woman can purify the Earth. I curse (that)…