Karna Kunti Sangbad: A Poetic Dialogue Between a Mother and a Son
Karna Kunti Sangbad is a Bengali poem by Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate poet and writer. It is based on a scene from the Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, where Kunti, the mother of the Pandava brothers, reveals to Karna, the eldest son of the Kuru king Dhritarashtra, that he is her firstborn son whom she had abandoned at birth. Karna, who was raised by a charioteer and his wife, is loyal to the Kauravas, the enemies of the Pandavas, and is about to face his half-brother Arjuna in a decisive battle.
The poem is a dramatic dialogue between Kunti and Karna, where they express their emotions of love, regret, pride, anger, sorrow and forgiveness. Kunti tries to persuade Karna to join the Pandavas and accept his true identity, while Karna refuses to betray his foster parents and his friend Duryodhana, the leader of the Kauravas. Karna also questions Kunti's motives and morality for abandoning him and hiding his birth secret for so long. The poem explores the themes of fate, duty, honor, family and sacrifice.
Karna Kunti Sangbad was first published in 1900 in Tagore's collection of plays called Kahini. It is considered one of his finest works of poetry and drama. The poem has been translated into many languages and adapted into various forms of art and media. It is also available as a PDF file online for free download.
If you are interested in reading this poem or learning more about its background and significance, you can visit the following links:
The original Bengali text of the poem
A PDF version of the poem
An English translation of the poem by Anisur Rahman
Analysis of Karna Kunti Sangbad
Karna Kunti Sangbad is not only a poetic retelling of a mythological episode, but also a critical reflection on the social and moral issues that underlie the epic. Tagore portrays Karna and Kunti as complex and conflicted characters who challenge the conventional norms of caste, kinship, loyalty and justice. He also explores the psychological aspects of their relationship, such as guilt, shame, denial, recognition and reconciliation.
One of the main themes of the poem is the question of identity and belonging. Karna is torn between his biological and adoptive families, his natural and acquired status, his personal and professional obligations. He is constantly marginalized and discriminated by the society for his low birth, despite his extraordinary talents and virtues. He is also betrayed by his own mother, who kept him in the dark about his true lineage and only revealed it when it suited her interests. Karna refuses to accept Kunti's offer to join the Pandavas, not only because he values his loyalty to Duryodhana, but also because he does not want to abandon his self-made identity as a warrior and a king.
Kunti, on the other hand, is also a victim of her circumstances. She was forced to abandon her firstborn son due to the fear of social stigma and dishonor. She later married Pandu and became the mother of five sons, who were destined to fight against their elder brother. She lived with the burden of her secret for many years, until she decided to reveal it to Karna on the eve of the war. She hoped to save both her sons from killing each other, but also to reclaim her lost son and give him his rightful place in her family. However, she failed to understand Karna's feelings and perspective, and only hurt him more with her belated confession.
The poem also highlights the role of fate and free will in human life. Karna and Kunti are both bound by their karma, which determines their actions and outcomes. They are also influenced by the divine intervention of Krishna, who orchestrates the events of the epic according to his will. However, they also have some degree of agency and choice in their decisions. Karna chooses to follow his dharma as a warrior and a friend, even if it means going against his blood relations and his own conscience. Kunti chooses to reveal her secret to Karna, even if it means risking her reputation and her relationship with her other sons. They both face the consequences of their choices, which are tragic and irreversible. 061ffe29dd