Bet all ye schmucks in the boondocks think Panch Pandavas refers only to Yudhishtira, Arjuna, Bheema, Nakula and Sahadeva.
Ha ha ha.
Shows how little y’all know because there’s little evidence that any of these ‘wife-sharers‘ existed.
Here are the real Panch Pandavas of India:
* D.P. Dhar
Now for a brief history lesson.
The time was the late 1960s. Indira Gandhi had become Prime Minister of India following Lal Bahadur Shastri’s unexpected death in Tashkent.
However, unlike her father Jawaharlal Nehru, who was an extraordinarily well-read man and whose ideas laid the foundation of modern India, there’s little evidence to show that Indira had any intellectual DNA in her body.
Those were the early days in Indira’s tenure as Prime Minister and she faced intense threat to her political survival from the old guard of the Congress party. These old foggies were collectively referred to as the Syndicate.
The inexperienced Indira was confronted with a hard choice. She couldn’t rely on the counsel of the Syndicate whose members viewed her as a puppet but at the same she needed some wise counsel to navigate the country through the treacherous shoals of her inexperience.
So Indira developed a team of five smart advisers whose advice she could rely upon in governing an unruly nation.
In time, these advisers came to be known as the Panch Pandavas.
1. Foremost among these advisers was Purshottam Narayan Haksar, the England-educated lawyer who became Indira’s Personal Private Secretary and close adviser. In her biography of Indira Gandhi, Katherine Frank writes that “Indira trusted Haksar’s intelligence and judgement implicitly and completely. From 1967 to 1973, he was probably the most influential and powerful person in the government.”
2. R.N. Kao was the first director of India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.
3. T.N.Kaul was a veteran diplomat, who served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union, USA, China and Iran (at different times).
4. Durga Prasad Dhar was a Kashmiri politician and diplomat. In his obituary, Time magazine described D.P.Dhar as ‘a principal architect of India’s military intervention in neighboring East Pakistan’s civil war, which led to the creation of independent Bangladesh.’
5. P.N. Dhar is an economist, who joined the Prime Minister’s Secretariat during Indira’s tenure. Dhar is the only living member of the Panch Pandavas.
It’s fair to say that but for these Panch Pandavas, India would have seen more turbulence in the 1960s with the country’s rudders in the hands of an inexperienced and intellectually challenged person like Indira Gandhi.
By the way, all of them were Kashmiri Brahmins (like Indira Gandhi).
Now that we’ve educated you, the next time someone says Panch Pandavas don’t just think of that polyandrous woman Draupadi’s five spouses from Hindu mythology.
Instead, think of the five flesh-and-blood Kashmiri Brahmins – P.N.Haksar, R.N.Kao, P.N.Dhar, D.P.Dhar and T.N.Kaul.