In the Mahabharata we have a complex character called Karna. He is also known as Daanveer Karna. People think that he was so talented that in the right conditions he could have beaten Arjuna too, as the best Dhanurdhar of those days. But alas, he was not born into the Kshatriya family – or that’s what he was told and that’s what he believed. In fact his belief became so strong that when his real Mother Kunti and even Sri Krishna told him about his true parents, he refused to own it.
Karna wanted to belong to the warrior clan so much that in his desperation he became friends with Duryodhan who was an Adharmi. He went along with Duryodhan’s wrongdoings so much that even though he knew that Draupadi should not be slighted, he did it and called her bad names during the play of dice. He knew that the war was wrong, but he still fought it just because he wanted to prove that he was the best archer and that he could defeat the best – Arjuna. He even joined hands in killing Abhimanyu, breaking all rules of the war. He disregarded Bhagwan Sri Krishna’s advices to prove to Duryodhan that he was on his side, even though he knew that he was wrong.
But, through all this, he stayed true to the best aspect of his personality – his willingness to donate without seeking any boons or fame for this. He was in every way a misfit in the whole scheme of things, trying everything to belong, to be known as the best warrior of his times. He was intelligent, courageous, generous, not a womaniser, excelling his art (archery) in every way. But fate was not on his side and he faltered in many ways. Ultimately though he deserved a glorious death, he met with an inglorious death.
The Mahabharata can also be seen as a book of personalities who are alive in every era, all over the world.
When Sushant Singh Rajput died yesterday, I was actually reminded of Karna. Sushant Singh Rajput was an intelligent young man, excelling in education. He was a 7th rank holder in AIEEE, a very difficult feat. He was a National level Olympiad winner in Physics. He had varied interests in science, astronomy, philosophy and more. But what was dear to him was the field of cinema and acting. Unfortunately he was a rank outsider there. He had no godfathers, no backers, no family backing or friends in the film industry. All that he had was his talent and his efforts. He was a misfit in the industry and he probably tried everything, clung on to every strand of help that he could find in the industry.
When he declared that he was ashamed to be a Rajput and that he would discard that surname of his, he was probably doing it to side with those who were extremely powerful in the industry, to show them his support. He was desperate to fit in probably and was willing to take the extreme step even if it did not suit his personality. He took up roles which were viewed as anti-Hindu in PK and Kedarnath but to balance that he used to put up pro-Hindu posts on his Instagram profile. I happened to read a post by a friend of his which stated that he used to discuss the Vedanta and was deeply philosophical.
He had donated to Kerala and Nagaland during the horrific floods which affected the two States in 2018. He is also known to have helped students with their studies, by providing them with free education. He wanted to send 100 children to NASA workshops and to learn Astronomy. He used to respond personally to individual requests on Twitter requesting for funds for cancer treatment, etc.
In the words of Kangana Ranaut, “They told him he is worthless and he believed them…” Even when millions of people told him the truth about his being an exceptional actor, he apparently chose to believe the ‘lobby’ that he was an outsider in the industry. He could have died a glorious death but unfortunately faced a death which no one would like to face. He died fighting a war against the system and died a lonely death. His dreams of becoming the most successful actor in Bollywood may not have been realised, but millions will remember him for his exceptional skills as an actor through the most beautiful films he made, like Chhichhore and M S Dhoni – the untold story.
An outsider who shone with the brilliance of his talent – that’s Sushant Singh Rajput.