The ancient Indian epic of Mahabharat saw a war at Kurukshetra. The war was nothing but a culmination of grudges. Here are the avengers and their stories:
Shakuni – the sweet and silent avenger. Shakuni was no well-wisher of the Kauravs. He wished for and systematically worked towards the downfall of the Hastinapur kingdom. Fuelling jealousy, false pride and hatred, Shakuni made a mess of Duryodhan’s life. His cunning ideas ensured the relations between Kauravs and Pandavs reached a point of irreversible collapse, eventually leading to bloodbath at Kurukshetra. Shakuni had his reasons to hate the royal family of Hastinapur. His family was ruined at their hands and he wanted to give back what he got. He silently did what he wanted to and no one realized what he was up to. For deception was the best weapon Shakuni had. When Shakuni got killed in war, the Kauravs were on the brink of defeat.
Shikandi – the patient avenger. First as Amba, a woman and then as Shikandi, a woman in a man’s body. Bhishma accidentally ruined Amba’s life and did what he considered his best to salvage the situation. Amba didn’t get what she wanted as reparation. Amba pleased Shiva with her penance and was blessed with a boon that were to materialize in the next birth. Shikhandi had waited too long and was actually helping himself when he agreed to help Arjun in the war at Kurukshetra. Bhishma lowed his weapons sighting Shikhandi on Arjun’s chariot. What Arjun did as a result not only changed the course of the war but gave immense happiness and a sense of retribution to Amba.
Duryodhan – the tit-for-tat avenger. Full of despise for his cousins, the Pandavs since childhood and jealous of their recent success, Duryodhan was already a volcano waiting to erupt. Draupadi’s laughter and mocking was something his bloated ego couldn’t take sportingly. What Duryodhan considered insulting had to be avenged by a stronger insult. With Shakuni’s trickery by his side, Duryodhan ensured the Pandavs lost everything they had in gamble, including Draupadi. Not stopping there, he had Dushasan drag Draupadi into a packed court and humiliate her, taking the politics of Hastinapur to its nadir. Draupadi’s cries was music to Duryodhan’s ears. It was his day to laugh.
Bheem – the most ruthless avenger of his time. Draupadi’s insult didn’t go down well with the Pandavs, particularly Bheem. We vowed to break Duryodhan’s thigh into pieces and sip blood from Dushasan’s chest to quench his anger. Known for his abilities to accomplish arduous tasks, Bheem’s words sent shockwaves across the court. In the war at Kurukshetra, Bheem brutally killed Dushasan, mutilating his body and dancing around it. Later, flouting rules of the war, Bheem used his mace to land massive blows on Duryodhan’s thigh, leaving him bleeding profusely. Bheem’s revenge was what brought victory to the Pandavs for only he could kill Duryodhan.
Arjun – the quickest of all avengers. The war at Kurukshetra was at its peak. Drona as the chief of the Kaurav forces decided to end the war by capturing Yudhisthir. Arjun ensured every attempt failed which lead Drona into a masterplan. The Kauravs got Arjun busy elsewhere and arranged their army in the circular formation. Arjun’s son Abhimanyu rescued his side from the crisis that ensued but was brutally killed. Jayadrath was the one who didn’t allow any help reach the lone Abhimanyu. Arjun vowed to kill Jayadrath within a day, failing which he promised to commit suicide. With help from Krishna and using his fine archery, tearing apart layers of Kaurav protection, Arjun put Jayadrath to rest in the nick of time.
Drupad, Drona, Eklavya, Dhrishtadyumna & Ashwathama – a messy circle of revenge. Drupad made a promise to Drona which he never fulfilled. Drona took it as an insult and carried a grudge. Drona ruined Eklavya’s career as an archer for he was seen as a potential threat to Drona’s favourite pupil Arjun. Eklavya wanted to repay it to Drona and died after a boon from Krishna. The boon ensured Eklavya would be reborn to kill Drona. Drona later got Drupad captured by Pandavs and usurped half of Drupad’s kingdom for his son Ashwathama. Now, Drupad carried the grudge and sought divine help to settle scores with Drona. He was blessed with Dhrishtadyumna as his son who already had the martial skills needed to kill Drona. Dhrishtadyumna arrival was also the rebirth of Eklavya. Certain that Drona would die at the hands of Dhrishtadyumna, Drupad waited patiently. In the war at Kurukshetra, they all came face to face. Drona and Ashwathama were by the Kaurav side and Drupad and Dhrishtadyumna fought by the Pandav side. Drona killed Drupad and Dhrishtadyumna killed Drona. Ashwathama later killed Dhrishtadyumna. Ashwathama’s attempt to end the Pandav lineage was reversed by Krishna. Krishna’s curse sent Ashwathama into oblivion, putting an end the horrid cycle of revenge that killed almost all involved.
For detailed stories, read: The Avengers of the Mahabharat – Full Stories