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Draupadī’s Question

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Chapter Summary

A surprising thing is observable in scholarly work on Indian classical and folk epics: their goddesses, and their heroines' divinity, we are told, are not part of the original stories. This chapter on 'Draupadi's Question', takes the matter of the heroine not in the direction of the goddess, but in the direction of real flesh-and-blood historical women, both those for whom a heroine might have 'spoken' in the time of the epic's composition and as its text unfolds in history, and for whom she might still speak today. The author engages these issues initially as they are at play in both the epic text itself and in modern scholarship on the epic, and then looks at what has become of this question in an instance of contemporary fiction.

Keywords: Draupadī's Question; goddesses; heroines; real flesh-and-blood historical women



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