19 October, 2020

Like Karna, Like Zaheer

Sledging reflects current geopolitical realities, but belies its epic roots

R. Prasad
Like Karna, Like Zaheer
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

'Sledging' is older than the hills—certainly older than a hill of jelly beans—and, contrary to popular opinion, wasn't invented by Australians. The supremacy of a people in a particular field facilitates wild claims. Indians, being supreme at maths claim to have invented the zero, a claim recently disputed by Greek mathematicians.

There is, of course, epic evidence that the first 'sledger' was an Indian—long before the game of cricket was invented. The Mahabharata tells the story of the swayamvara ceremony of Draupadi in which her father and brother Drishtadyumna summons the princes of Bharat to compete for her hand. They come from far and wide. Drupad nurtures the ambition of his daughter being married to the supreme archer and royal Pandav, Arjun. But alas! They suspect him to have been killed by fire. The wish has transmitted itself to Draupadi, who loses her heart to this Arjun, hoping against hope that he will miraculously appear and claim her.

The ceremony begins; the competition is declared. Competitors are to...

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