Addendum to the previous post, that got a little long and distracting. Apparently I'm really fucking pissed about Krishn's intervention in Draupad’s vastraharan
The Mahabharat is a text pretty fucking invested in magic and the gods, okay, but you never have to believe in them, as long as you're ready to believe a little careful lying around the edges instead (the Pandavs can be the result of sex with men instead of gods; the gandharvs are just a more technologically advanced group of people medically-speaking re: Shikhandi’s sex-change operation, or dildos and lies and adoption; Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna had been born earlier and the emerging for fire is them being recognised as heirs; Krishn shows up with cart-loads of food for the hungry rishis etc), except when it comes to this frankly pivotal scene.
Krishn is engaged in fighting for his life (or at least kingdom) several states away, the intervention, if he's human, requires him to be thinking roughly fifty moves ahead of the Kauravs. Which, fine, this is Krishn, Imma buy what you're selling, he might totally have sent a hundred-yard long saree along to Draupadi with instructions, and I've read at least one novel that goes that route. Mind, she's only dressed the way she is because she's menstruating, but they're totally the sort of creepy friends who know that shit about each other. I have faith in this.
But she's menstruating, she's dressed in a single garment (the cheera of cheerharan, as this episode is also known, refers to a thin, often old, garment) with her hair loose, why the hell would she be wearing a forever-long fancy sari? Keep in mind also that women back then didn't wear sarees, they wore a dhoti-like lower garment, and a scarf on the upper body that might or might not be wrapped over the breasts (from the sculptures it usually wasn't but both artistic license and personal preference intervene here). Basically the same garments as men wore. Well, free men. Slaves just wore the dhoti, kirtled up above the knee for manual labour. This is again regardless of sex. The proposal to disrobe Draupadi stems from one to take the upper garments from her husbands once they have become dasas, and continues through an assertion that, now that she is a dasi, it hardly matters whether Draupadi is barely-clothed or completely bare, so take her one garment instead of the uttariya or scarf.
A side-bar here to say that Duryodhan till fairly late is thinking of Draupadi's duties as a dasi along the manual labour line, while Karn has gone straight to the foe yay place because Karn is creepy that way. Way to go, dude.
Anyway, here we have then a woman in (at least) her forties, menstruating, being disrobed by her husbands' cousin, in a gambling hall. Horrific, and more so because, while there is no purdah, (a) a gambling hall is a low sort of place, (b) a menstruating woman is both polluted and sacrosanct, (c) Karn has successfully brought the sexual aspect into everyone's heads by now.
At this juncture, intervention by Krishn, general astonishment, Draupadi gearing the fuck up after having already blasted everyone and pulling the Pandavs from slavery while vowing terrifying things to do with blood. But okay, here's the thing, everyone still talks about it in terms of the violation, that she was dragged there, that she was assaulted, that the disrobing was attempted at all.
SO WHY THE FUCK IS THERE DIVINE INTERVENTION. ugh.
No, really. It doesn’t change anything, and this is not a text that shies away from either sex (pre-marital, extra-marital, the works) or sexual assault, c.f. Surya’s rape of Kunti, where she literally passes out. And certainly everyone reacts in a way that I can’t imagine could have been stronger if Draupadi had been disrobed, whether Bheem’s vows, or Krishn’s rage, or Kunti’s gone-cold anger, or, oh my queen my queen, Draupadi herself, standing in that gambling hall holding the hair Dushasan had dragged her by and swearing she will bathe it in his blood. (Spoiler, she does.)
I just... I don’t get it? Later interpolation, when people are more concerned with issues of virginity, and/or more inclined to worship Krishn as an outright god? Something?