I guess Shakuni Mama’s character in Mahabharat is one of the most complex and highly misunderstood characters in Mahabharat. Agreed, he was deceitful and misleading but on the whole he was the person responsible for initiating the Mahabharata war which enabled Pandavas to get back their kingdom.
Shakuni was the brother of Gandhari, the wife of Dhrutharashtra and mother of Kauravas. As per Wikipedia, it seems Gandhari was married to a goat initially (without the knowledge of Dhrutharashtra) before being married to Dhrutharashtra, according to Sooth Sayers advice. Later on, when Dhrutharashtra came to know about this, he got angry and imprisoned all members of Gandhari’s family.
Shakuni was the youngest brother of Gandhari among 100 other brothers. Since all of them were sparsely fed (with one speck of rice each per day) in the prison, the family decided that at least one of them could survive and gave all the rice to Shakuni so that he could live on to take revenge.
Shakuni not only survived, but became very close to Kauravas and especially Duriyodhan. From there on, he weilded his influence on Duriyodhan and master minded the great battle of Mahabharat. He played a key part in inciting the Pandavas to play the game of dice and made them lose their kingdom and everything else to Kauravas. The dice, it seems was made of a bone from his fathers leg and would listen to Shakuni’s command. If Pandavas lost the game, it would inevitably lead to a war between Pandavas and Kauravas.
Why did he do this? Was it because he wanted Duriyodhan to have all of the kingdom and rule it?
No. He did this because he knew that Pandavas were strong enough to defeat all the Kauravas and a great war between them was the only way to do so.
So, technically he was in the side of Pandavas without their knowledge. Though he fought for the Kauravas, he knew by heart that Pandavas would win the battle and his revenge would be complete.
I am not sure what was negative about this character? Where ever the name ‘Shakuni’ appears, it appears in the wrong light and people think that he was bad and evil. He was in fact, acting his part in the grand story and was plotting against the evil Kaurava forces.
He was the King Maker. Much beyond any Kings!
What do you people think?