Karnasapatham (Karna's vow)

Story Play (Attakkatha): 


The story centres round Karna, the tragic hero of Mahabharata. This play takes place just as the great war between the Kauravas led by Duryodhana and the Pandavas led by Yudhishtira is about to take place.

Karnaspadham, written by V Madhavan Nair or Mali as he is known popularly, is perhaps the only modern play which has become very successful in the performance space. One peculiarity of this play is that it takes place in one scene with characters moving in and out.


Duryodhana finds his wife Bhanumathi in a despondent mood as she is worried about the imminent war. Karna consoles Bhanumathi and assures her he will kill the Pandavas and crown Duryodhana as the king. Dussasana enters to inform his brother Duryodhana that ministers and war strategists are awaiting their arrival in the cabinet room. Karna first goes for his bath and prayers in River Ganges.


As Karna prepares to meditate he finds he is unable to concentrate. He starts brooding about his true parentage. Karna finds Kunti, the mother of the Pandavs, approaching. Kunti requests him to defect from the Kourava camp and join her sons which angers Karna. Then Kunti reveals to Karna that she is his mother and that his father is the Sun God. This revelation devastates Karna. Finally Karna promises Kunti that he will not kill any of her sons other than Arjuna. Kunti leaves and Karna returns to his palace after his prayers. Duryodhana tells Karna that since he has finally learnt the truth he is free to join the Pandava camp. But Karna affirms his loyalty to the Kauravas. Karna then makes a solemn pledge that he will abandon his mother and brothers for his friend Duryodhana.




Translated By: Mr. Achuthan TK