Dana, Veera, Soora Karna(Generous, Brave and Courageous) is a man ‘True to his Salt’. But for his unflinching loyalty to his benefactor, the Story of Mahabharata would have been different. The Book of Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 13, reads “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “A man without character should be rejected.
THE ROLE OF CHARACTER IN DEFINING IDENTITY
Dr. Martin Luther King wished for the day when his sons would not be judged by the color of the skin but by the content of their character. Character is defined as the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group or thing from another. Character is a description of a person’s attributes, traits or abilities.
PRINCE KARNA – A TRUE HERO :
In the Indian epic of Mahabharata, Prince Karna is allied with the enemies of the Pandavas. Karna is the first son of Queen Kunti and is the half brother to the Pandavas and is the eldest of them. However, Queen Kunti abandoned him after his birth and he is known as ” Radheya” and as ” Suta Putra ” as he grew up in the house of a charioteer. Karna sought a position at the court in Hastinapura. His identity as a low-caste person came in the way of his quest for knowledge and mastering the art of archery. Dronacharya the teacher of Kuru princes has refused to teach him. Later, Dronacharya held an archery contest at Hastinapura and Karna is publicly humiliated as he is made ineligible to participate in the competition for he has no princely status. Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kaurava brothers comes to the rescue of Karna. He immediately appoints Karna as the King of ‘ANGA’ province and makes him eligible to participate in the archery contest. Thus Karna becomes a true friend and a loyal ally of Duryodhana. Karna fought for the Kauravas in the great battle at Kurukshetra. Because of the fear of the impending battle, Queen Kunti approached Karna and for the first time reveals her identity as his mother and calls him as “Kunteya”. The true character of Karna comes out when he tells his mother that he must fight the Pandavas but promises not to kill any of them other than Arjuna. On the 15 th day of the battle, Karna is appointed as the Commander and Chief of the Kaurava forces. Karna braved impossible odds in his whole life and died with great courage, valor and honor. It is Karna’s fate to be sacrificed in a climatic battle with Arjuna. It is a death that is a reminder of the necessity of sacrificial destruction for redemption. The dignity with which Karna conducted his life makes him my favorite hero and I would claim that Loyalty, Dependability and Trustworthiness is the bench mark of Indian Identity.
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE :
The essence of salt exists in its flavor and if salt loses its taste and flavor, its existence has no purpose and it would be discarded. A man has to define as to who he is, his true nature and his existence would be valued as long as he retains the flavor of his essence. The reality of existence is a prerequisite for having essence and a man of character and integrity would only exist to display his true nature.
To many of us who have the privilege to serve in Uniform, nothing is really more important than being ‘LOYAL’. Many had cheerfully accepted the test of Loyalty and willingly sacrificed their lives in the discharge of their military duty and I am proud to describe this as our national character and as our true Identity.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.