Draupadi and ‘Satitva’: A Study of Pratibha Ray’s novel Yajnaseni
In Pratibha Ray’s novel Yajnaseni (1995), Draupadi is an intense character from the epic, Mahabharata written in the form of a letter to Lord Krishna. The woman’s perspective has given it the sensibility that only a woman feels for the sufferings of other women. Ray tries to highlight Draupadi’s identity as a ‘sati in her novel Yajnaseni , a former practice in India whereby a widow threw herself on to her husband's funeral pyre, which has generated much controversy through the ages. Ray has kept intact the notion of ‘satitva’ and Draupadi’s claim to it. Although traditionally, her name is counted among the five satis, Ahalya, Tara, Mandodari, Satavati and Draupadi, still she is condemned for infidelity. Ray thinks that marrying five husbands is a challenge to the whole community of womanhood and asserts that even after marrying many men, the sexual purity of a woman could be maintained. Through Draupadi Ray has criticized a society that judges a woman’s chastity by the number of husbands. Ray has focused on the fact that chastity should not depend on such social assumptions. While rewriting the “complexity” of Draupadi’s character, Ray incorporates the ‘elastic notion’ by stretching the mythical Draupdi to an ordinary woman fitting the various situations of modern time basically emphasizing on her ‘satitva’.