The infamy of being Ghatotkach

Abhimanyu’s death was the turning point in Mahabharata war. Till the day Abhimanyu was killed, Arjuna was fighting the war half-heartedly. He was resisting from killing any of his relatives or former friends. Abhimanyu’s death changed his perception, and led him to believe that those whom he was hesitating to kill, had no compassion for him. That brought out the inner fire in him.

Ghatotkach was the son of Bheem, and though he was instrumental in causing huge casualties to Kaurava camp, his sacrifice is not considered as valiant as Abhimanyu’s. There may be multiple reasons to this:

  1. Ghatotkach was half-demon, and as humans, people are not too sympathetic about sacrifices made by other community for humans. It might be they do not feel the emotional connect as they feel with sacrifices made by other humans.
  2. Abhimanyu was a kid when he entered the Chakravyuha. He went in despite knowing that its a one-way gate. Also his trust in the other Pandavas did not materialise since they were stopped by Jayadratha. Ghatotkach on the other hand, had no idea he would be killed. Also, not breaking the Chakravyuha would have meant losing the war to Kauravas that very day.
  3. The story of Karna’s Vasava-astra is not widely known as that of Abhimanyu’s sacrifice and valor.
  4. Abhimanyu was killed against laws of war, and so people are more sympathetic to that. Ghatotkach was killed as per tenets of war.

The whole of Mahabharata is focused around Arjuna (as he was Krishna’s companion), and so his son’s death gets a much wider coverage than that of Bheema’s.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/william1982/

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