Eklavya could have been the best archer that the world has ever seen. He could have been better than Drona, Arjuna, Karna or even Bheeshma but Drona didn’t let that happen. Drona is widely criticized by scholars for this selfish act of his. In my humble opinion whatever he did was fair and just.
Let’s revisit Eklavya’s story. Eklavya was a bheel(tribal) who wished to get Deeksha(Training) by Drona but Drona was committed to train only the Rajputras(descendents of the royal blood). Eklavya self-trained himself and challenged the Rajputras for a duel. When he was making his way to Drona’s Ashram, A dog started barking. Eklavya lost his cool and shot arrows inside the dog’s mouth. The Dog’s mouth was soon full of arrows and hence it stopped barking. Satisfied, he then went inside the Ashram and mesmerized everyone with his archery prowess. Drona was bowled over too. So he selfishly asked for his thumb as “Guru Dakshina” (Fee) thereby making him a lesser warrior.
Now consider these points:
Eklavya was an archer. The bows of those times were capable of shooting astras (weapons) like Shakti Baan (Power Bomb – The modern equivalent of a high power RDX explosive) and even Brahmastra (The modern equivalent of Atom Bomb). So imagine a warrior who gets so enraged by a dog’s bark that he fills his mouth with arrows with all these deadly weapons. There were chances that he could have used these weapons gratuitously causing extensive devastation or even total annihilation. Drona was astute enough to figure it out and hence he neutralized him. Eklavya was a great warrior with a pathetic temperament.
Also, his tribe paid obeisance to the Chedi and the Magadha kingdom, which were governed by Shishupala and Jarasandha(Enemies of Hastinapur) – another reason and a solid one at that.
Now why this theological discussion here on TFI? There are a number of reasons:
1. We love Indian Mythology
2. Did we fail in neutralizing the ‘Eklavya’? Have we given him so much powers that can bring an entire state to a standstill?
3. Does the “Eklavya” secretly pay obeisance to people that have conventionally been the enemies of common populace.