Shakuni’s Dice

- September 19, 2020

By Niranjana Sivaram

The mastermind behind the infamous game of dice in the Mahabharata was Shakuni, the maternal uncle of the Kauravas. He had a pair of magical dice which led to the Pandavas losing their kingdom and all their wealth. There is a story about how Shakuni came to possess his pair of magical dice.

Shakuni was the youngest son of the king of Gandhar. Once, Bhishma laid siege to the kingdom of Gandhar and imprisoned the king and the princes. As per some oral traditions of India and Indonesia, he also forced the princess Gandhari to marry Dhritarashtra, the blind Kuru prince.

In prison, the Gandhar king and his sons were fed only one morsel of food every day. Realising that they would all die soon, the king came up with a plan. He told the others to give their food to Shakuni, the youngest prince, so he could outlive them and take revenge on the Kuru family. Eventually, when the king died, Shakuni used his bones to make a pair of dice. The dice were magical and obeyed Shakuni’s command. They only showed the numbers that he wanted.

Eventually, Shakuni was able to use these dice to exact his revenge on the Kuru family, setting in motion the events that led to the greatest battle in history, the Mahabharata!

Read lesser know stories from different versions of the great epics in our title ‘Rama’s Ring’ on the ACK Comics app. Also available on Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers.  

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