Karna’s wife – The Outcaste’s Queen By Kavita Kane
Dr. Payal Trivedi
There are events in life we feel we have the RIGHT to change and there are those that make us powerless, Kavita Kane’s novel Karna’s wife – The Outcast’s Queen brings both these facets of life into prominence. As a primary subject matter, the audacity of princess Uruvi to choose Karna, the son of the sutaputra, the charioteer over the royal prince Arjuna as a valiant reformation and comes to the readers as a pleasant surprise. Nonetheless, her powerlessness as a wife to change her husband’s course of improper action is more than evident as Uruvi sees Karna meet the dire consequences of being susceptible to his dutiful adherence towards Duryodhana and his inherent disagreement with the Pandavas.
Despite all her wishful thinking that her husband would come to terms with the truth of being misguided by vengeance towards the Pandavas Uruvi is unable to deviate Karna from the path of his own destruction. This brings us to the acknowledgement of a woman’s opinion being of secondary or negligible importance in a man’s life in spite of it being true. At the same time, Uruvi’s strong denial to be subservient to her man’s choice of being indulgent in his decision of supporting the wrong is a defiance of the conformist notions that subject a woman to blindly consent to her man’s beliefs. When she leaves Karna and opts for a reclusive life away from all the obligations of being a dutiful wife, we see this as the author’s appreciable effort towards dethroning the regular assumptions of modernity towards traditional figures as essentially submissive.
The ending of novel does evoke a sense of resignation towards fate and undoubtedly seems to be a conventional approach towards understanding life. Krishna becomes a clairvoyant messenger in informing Uruvi that she cannot change the predestined fate of her son and cannot escape the massacre of war by just evading the truth of her being a warrior’s wife and her son being the posterity of a royal clan – Angaraj. Nonetheless, this very conventional approach exposes the unspoken or often avoided truth of life as a preordained karmic cycle which is inescapable. While we know for the fact that individual reaps the fruit of one’s own karma, the same fact leads us to acknowledge the fated destiny in case of Karna that brought him to his helpless death end. It is Karna’s own choice that brings his downfall but that same choice was made not out of his own choice to be with the wrong doers. His unfortunate destiny of being Kunti’s illegitimate child was instrumental in shaping up the course of events in his life; an undeniable truth. Kane adopts a more subtle but an effective mode of unravelling the fact of life being a perplexing arena of the constant feud between fate and deeds. This universally pertinent message makes this novel interesting, appealing and even mysteriously absorbing in its own regard.