Who are people’s favourite characters in the Mahabharata? Why?

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

When anyone mentions the Mahabharata, there are some key characters who are usually hero-worshiped by all fans of the work.


The mastermind behind the whole sequence of events that unfolded. The apple of everyone’s eyes. And one of the few characters who was cordial with almost everyone on both the warring factions. He was the only one both sides listened to. Although the Mahabharata is not about Lord Krishna, He is one of the key characters and oftentimes overshadows all the other characters with His wisdom and wit.


The undisputed protagonist of the work. Although the Mahabharata does not explicitly specify that Arjuna is the hero of the story, it is subtly implied all through the text. He is portrayed as the epitome of valor and bravery. He is also said to be the most perfect student ever.


The heroine. The one who had a life many could not even imagine of leading. The one who braved against all odds and lived up to her name of being the daughter of fire. She was one of the earliest feminists in history and most women still look up to her for lessons on how to hold your head high in the face of adversity and how to never let go of your dignity and pride for anyone or anything… no matter what the cost.


The lamp that went out too soon. His short-lived life and his valorous death breaks every heart that reads about it. He is loved and adored just as a son of Arjuna and a nephew of Krishna ought to be.


The antihero. The unlucky one. The one who had it all by birth and was yet denied them all due to destiny. A lot of people like Karna more than Arjuna saying that he was equal to Arjuna or even better than him and that he achieved whatever he did on his own, without the privileges that Arjuna enjoyed as a Prince. In every stage of his life, he was unlucky. He piled up curses after curses and finally died as a result of one of those curses. People have a lot of love mainly out of sympathy for him. He deserved so much more. But alas! Destiny plays cruel games.


The grand-sire who started it all. His life was one enormous sacrifice and until his end, he was not able to decide if the sacrifice had been worth it or not. Torn between duty and righteousness, Bhishma lived out his life in a state of perpetual worry. He was a good son, but the future that unfolded was anything but what he thought it would be. Once again, destiny played a cruel game.

Who are people’s favourite characters in the Mahabharata? Why?

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