Telugu writer Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad won the Sahitya Akademi award this year for his novel Draupadi. The award announcement was followed by protests in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere against alleged misinterpretation of the mythological character. Prasad, who is the chairman of the AP Hindi Academy, talks to Faizal Khan about his book and the controversy.
It is a novel based on the character of Draupadi from the Mahabharata. I wanted to explore different facets of Draupadi's phenomenal character, like her exalted individuality, laudable self-confidence and exemplary good nature, which made her worthy of the crown of the feminine world. It is a novel but there is no distortion of the epic. I researched for two-and-a-half years and read more than 100 books on the subject in Hindi, English and Telugu before I started writing.
What is different in your representation of Draupadi?
I believe that Draupadi and other characters like her in the Mahabharata, who are incarnations of gods, had to behave in the same manner as human beings. I wanted to bring out the human qualities in them to portray them as such. From Draupadi's time to even today, women are the worst sufferers in any world. I delved into the inner feelings of Draupadi to understand the contemporary woman better.
Full interview here Times of India