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Did you know that the 100 Kauravas had a sister too?

·2-min read

Among the lesser-known stories of the Mahabharata is that of Yuyutsu, the stepbrother to the Kaurava scions. As you may have read here, Yuyutsu was the son Dhritarashtra fathered with Gandhari’s maid-in-waiting.

However, Yuyutsu was not the only child outside of the 100 Kaurava princes that are popular in our collective consciousness. Gandhari had, in fact, given birth to 101 children. Of these, one hundred were sons and one was a daughter.

Bas relief carving of Kaurava foot soldiers heading at the Battle of Kurukshetra as described in the Mahabharata.  Western Gallery of Angkor Wat, Cambodia.  Sculpted around the eleventh century.
Bas relief carving of Kaurava foot soldiers heading at the Battle of Kurukshetra as described in the Mahabharata. Western Gallery of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Sculpted around the eleventh century.

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Several years before she actually delivered, Gandhari had hosted Vyasa in the palace. Pleased with her hospitality, Vyasa granted her a boon that she’d bear a hundred sons. However, when time came Gandhari remained pregnant for more than two years without delivering. It is during this time that Dhritarashtra impregnates Sugadha, Gandhari’s maid-in-waiting, and Yuyutsu is born.

At the end, after more than two long years, Gandhari delivers a hard lump of dead flesh. Horrified, she decides to throw away the flesh but is stopped by Vyasa who asks her to cut the flesh into a 100 pieces and store them in a jar each. At this point, Gandhari expresses her desire to have a daughter and so Vyasa asks her too cut 101 pieces. Two years later the pieces of flesh become human babies and that’s how the 100 Kaurava princes and one Kaurava princess are born.

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The princess is named Dushala. Very little is known of her so it’s fair to assume that she led a fairly uneventful life. Eventually, she goes on to marry Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu. Jayadratha inserts himself into the family drama by kidnapping Draupadi and being defeated and humiliated by the Pandavas. To seek revenge, Jayadratha joins the ranks of the Kaurava army but falls to Arjuna’s arrow.

How is Krishna related to the Pandavas?

After the war, Dushala lives a relatively peaceful with her son Suradha as the king of his slain father’s kingdom. However, when the horse of Yudhishthira’s Ashwamegha sacrifice enters Sindhu, Suradha has the option of either going to war with the Pandavas or surrendering so his kingdom can continue to survive as a vassal state of Hastinapur. However, Suradha ends his life out of fear of facing Arjuna leaving the kingdom without a leader at a time when it needed one the most.

On hearing this, Arjuna abandons the idea of invading Sindhu and instead installs Dushala’s infant grandson on the throne.

Related read: Why did Krishna’s army fight against their own king in the Mahabharata war?

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