In the Mahabharata war, the loyalty (or lack thereof) of the Kauravas’ generals played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the conflict. While some generals remained loyal to Duryodhana and the Kauravas until the end, others wavered in their allegiance due to various factors such as personal grievances, or moral dilemmas. Here’s an elaboration on the loyalty (or lack of it) of some key Kaurava generals:


Bhishma’s internal conflict, stemming from his unwavering loyalty to the throne of Hastinapur and his deep love for the Pandavas, has a profound impact on the narrative and outcome of the Mahabharata War. While he fought valiantly for the Kauravas, his internal conflict was evident in his reluctance kill any one of the Pandavas and to use full force against them. This internal conflict impacts the effectiveness of the Kaurava campaign and demonstrates the profound emotional and ethical turmoil experienced by warriors bound by loyalty and duty. The Pandavas, aware of Bhishma’s invincibility and his reluctance to kill them, are forced to adopt strategies that avoid direct confrontations with him.

Bhishma’s presence on the battlefield is a psychological and moral blow to the Pandavas, who are torn between their respect for him and the necessity to fight against him. His eventual fall becomes a pivotal moment in the war, as it is only after Krishna suggests putting Bhishma in a position where he would choose not to fight back, that the Pandavas find a way to neutralize him without disrespecting him. The use of Shikhandi, whom Bhishma refuses to fight due to Shikhandi’s past life as a woman, demonstrates the complexities of honour and duty.

Bhishma’s internal conflict and his role in the war symbolize the broader themes of the Mahabharata: the clash between duty and morality, the sacrifices demanded by loyalty, and the tragic consequences of inflexible vows. In summary, Bhishma’s conflict due to his loyalty to the throne and his love for the Pandavas significantly shapes the course and outcome of the Mahabharata War.


Dronacharya, the revered royal preceptor of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas, is a central figure in the Mahabharata, whose internal conflicts and loyalties significantly influence the narrative and outcome of the Kurukshetra War. His deep bond with his students, especially Arjuna, whom he considered his favourite, contrasts sharply with his duty and loyalty to the throne of Hastinapur, which he serves as a commander in the Kaurava army. This dichotomy in Drona’s loyalties and affections plays out in several key ways throughout the war.

Dronacharya’s unmatched expertise in military tactics and warfare benefits the Kaurava side, making him a formidable force on the battlefield. However, his affection for the Pandavas, particularly Arjuna, influences his approach to the war. He often holds back from unleashing his full might against them, subtly affecting the Kauravas’ chances of victory.

Drona faces moral dilemmas, particularly when asked to capture Yudhishthira alive, a task aimed more at humiliating the Pandavas than achieving a strategic victory. His participation in the plot to kill Abhimanyu, Arjuna’s son, through collective attack by multiple warriors, is a moment of ethical compromise, driven by loyalty to the Kaurava cause but against the principles of fair combat he taught his students.

Dronacharya’s story is a poignant narrative on the cost of loyalty and duty when they are in conflict with personal morals and affections. His unwavering commitment to the throne, despite its wrong direction under Duryodhana’s rule, and his inability to fully align with the Pandavas, whom he loves, highlights the tragic consequences of such conflicts.


Karna faces a profound moral dilemma, caught between his loyalty to Duryodhana and his rightful place among the Pandavas. This dilemma is epitomized in his meeting with Kunti before the war, where he refuses her request to join the Pandavas, pledging instead that he would not kill any of them except Arjuna. This promise stems from his desire to repay Duryodhana’s kindness without completely betraying his newfound kinship with the Pandavas.


Shakuni, a key antagonist in the Mahabharata, is often seen through the prism of his actions that directly lead to the Kurukshetra War. He is the prince of Gandhara, brother to Gandhari, who is married to Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur. Shakuni is portrayed as a mastermind of deception and manipulation, whose actions and schemes play a crucial role in deepening the animosity between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Understanding Shakuni’s motivations and loyalties requires a look into his background and the context within which he operates in the epic.

Loyalty to His Family: astrologers predicted a short lifespan of Gandhari’s husband at her birth. To avert this fate, Subala and his sons ceremoniously married Gandhari to a goat before her marriage with Dhritarashtra, subsequently sacrificing the goat to nullify the foreseen misfortune. Bhishma, upon discovering this ritual, condemns Subala for allowing a supposed “widow” to enter his family and decides to punish Subala and his kin, leading to their imprisonment and severe rationing. The captives, recognizing Shakuni’s intellect and vengeful potential, allocate their meagre sustenance to him. Ultimately, Subala and his other sons succumb, while Shakuni survives and attains release. Being the King of Gandhara, Shakuni spends most of his time in Hastinapura with a primary purpose of avenging the death of his family by eliminating Bhishma and Kuru dynasty.

Manipulation and the Dice Game: Shakuni’s most infamous act is his manipulation of the dice game, leading to the Pandavas’ exile and the humiliation of Draupadi. This act, while seemingly in support of the Kauravas’ interests, can also be seen as a calculated move to create irreparable rifts within the Kuru dynasty, fulfilling his desire for revenge.

In conclusion, Shakuni’s loyalty lies primarily with his family—his sister Gandhari and her sons, the Kauravas. However, his actions are also deeply influenced by a desire for revenge against Bhishma and the perceived injustices against his family. This blend of personal loyalty and vendetta drives him to commit acts that have far-reaching consequences for the Kuru dynasty, showcasing the complex interplay of personal motivations and loyalty in the epic narrative of the Mahabharata.


Shalya, the king of Madra, and the maternal uncle of Nakula and Sahadeva (the youngest Pandava brothers), presents a compelling study of conflicting loyalties in the Mahabharata. His story is a remarkable narrative of deception, duty, and divided loyalties, which adds depth to the epic’s exploration of dharma (righteous duty) and personal relationships.

As the Pandavas and the Kauravas prepared for the inevitable war, both sides sought to strengthen their armies by forming alliances with powerful kings. Shalya, renowned for his prowess in warfare and his close familial ties to the Pandavas, was naturally expected to fight alongside his nephews, the Pandavas. However, as Shalya and his army approached Kurukshetra, they were met with grand hospitality by Duryodhana, who cunningly arranged for this without revealing his identity. Believing this generosity was from Yudhishthira, Shalya promised to support the host’s side in the war. When he discovered the deception, he was bound by his word to support Duryodhana, despite his personal inclinations and familial loyalties. Bound by his promise, Shalya fought for the Kauravas, but his heart was with the Pandavas, creating an internal conflict that influenced his actions during the war. His conflicting loyalty is most prominently displayed when he serves as Karna’s charioteer in the latter’s duel with Arjuna. Despite his role in the Kaurava camp, Shalya tries to dissuade Karna from fighting Arjuna, highlighting the inevitable doom awaiting Karna and subtly trying to undermine Karna’s confidence. However, when Karna disregards his advice, Shalya performs his duty as a charioteer to the best of his abilities, albeit reluctantly.

In summary, Shalya’s conflicting loyalties add a layer of complexity to the Mahabharata’s narrative, illustrating how the bonds of family and duty can become entangled with the machinations of war. His character represents the tragic consequences of deception and the heavy burden of promises and honour in the face of deep personal conflicts.


Yuyutsu is one of the sons of Dhritarashtra, making him a half-brother to the Kauravas. Unlike his full siblings, Yuyutsu was not born to Queen Gandhari but to a Vaishya (a woman from the merchant caste) servant of Dhritarashtra. His unique position in the royal family places him in a narrative space where he can observe and critique the actions of his more prominent brothers, particularly Duryodhana.

As the preparations for the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas reach their culmination, Yuyutsu defects from the Kaurava side to the Pandavas. This defection is driven not by personal ambition but by a moral and ethical stance against the adharma (unrighteousness) he sees in Duryodhana’s actions and decisions, especially the mistreatment of the Pandavas and the dishonouring of Draupadi. Yuyutsu’s shift in allegiance is significant for several reasons:

Yuyutsu’s story, while not as prominent as those of the main characters, provides a poignant commentary on loyalty, ethics, and the choices individuals must make in the face of moral dilemmas. His defection to the Pandavas before the war underscores the epic’s complex examination of dharma and the responsibilities of individuals to uphold justice, even when it requires standing against their own family.

In summary, while some Kaurava generals displayed unquestionable loyalty to Duryodhana and the Kaurava cause, others had moral conflicts, personal dilemmas, or switched allegiances during the Mahabharata war. The varying degrees of loyalty among the Kaurava generals played a crucial role in shaping the course of the epic conflict. the tragedy and complexity of the Kurukshetra War, where familial ties, friendships, and guru-disciple relationships are strained and often broken by the demands of duty and loyalty to one’s faction. The epic portrays these dilemmas not as black-and-white decisions but as deeply personal and painful choices that define the character’s paths and the narrative’s moral landscape.

The conflict between loyalty and duty on one hand, and morality and ethics on the other, is a complex dynamic within organizations. Loyalty and duty often stem from personal or organizational allegiances, while morality and ethics are grounded in principles of right and wrong behaviour. When loyalty and duty clash with morality and ethics, individuals may find themselves torn between their obligations to their organization or superiors and their conscience or ethical standards. For instance, an employee may feel pressured to remain loyal to their employer even when asked to engage in unethical practices such as cutting corners on safety measures or deceiving customers on quality or support or such other corrupt practices.

The impact of these conflicts can be significant. In the short term, they may erode trust within the organization, damage reputation, and lead to legal or financial repercussions if unethical behaviour is exposed. Moreover, a culture that prioritizes loyalty over ethics may stifle innovation and hinder diversity of thought, ultimately impeding organizational growth and adaptability. In the long term, such conflicts can result in employee disengagement, turnover, and a toxic organizational culture where unethical behaviour is tolerated or even encouraged. Moreover, the erosion of personal integrity can have profound effects on individuals’ mental and emotional well-being.

In summary, the conflict between loyalty and duty versus morality and ethics in organizations can create tension at both individual and organizational levels, resulting in adverse consequences for both parties involved. Organizations that fail to address these conflicts risk facing serious consequences. Therefore, it’s essential for companies to foster cultures that prioritize ethical decision-making, encourage open communication about moral concerns, and provide support for employees facing ethical dilemmas. This may involve establishing clear ethical guidelines, offering ethics training and resources, and promoting a culture of transparency and accountability. By doing so, organizations can minimize the likelihood of loyalty and duty conflicting with morality and ethics, thereby creating healthier and more sustainable work environments.

Duryodhana, often seen as the chief antagonist of Mahabharata, is a complex character whose actions and decisions are central to the narrative and the eventual outbreak of the Kurukshetra War. Born to King Dhritarashtra and Queen Gandhari, Duryodhana is the eldest of the Kauravas, the hundred sons of the blind king. His rivalry with the Pandavas, particularly with Bhima, starts from a very young age and grows into an intense hatred, which shapes the course of the epic. A character analysis of Duryodhana reveals not just a villain in a traditional sense but a person driven by ambition, loyalty, and a strong sense of entitlement, albeit marred by flaws such as jealousy, pride, and a refusal to heed good counsel.

Ambition and Leadership

Duryodhana demonstrates strong leadership qualities and a charismatic ability to lead. He is ambitious, striving to be the undisputed ruler of the vast Kuru kingdom. His ambition, while a strength, also blinds him to the moral and ethical considerations of his actions, leading him down a path of adharma (unrighteousness).

Loyalty and Friendship

One of Duryodhana’s positive traits is his loyalty to his friends and allies. His friendship with Karna is particularly noteworthy. Karna, born to a charioteer but actually the son of Kunti (making him the eldest of the Pandavas, unknown to all), is snubbed by the society of the time. Duryodhana, however, recognizes Karna’s prowess as a warrior and crowns him the king of Anga, forging a deep and lasting friendship. This act of loyalty and recognition of merit, irrespective of societal norms, shows a more admirable side of Duryodhana’s character.

Pride and Arrogance

Duryodhana’s pride and arrogance are his most significant flaws. He cannot tolerate the idea of sharing power with the Pandavas, whom he considers inferior to himself and his brothers. This inability to share or even consider compromise leads to several key moments in the Mahabharata, including the infamous game of dice, where he maliciously conspires to strip the Pandavas of their kingdom and honour. Duryodhana’s arrogance had a profound impact on the events of the Mahabharata War and his eventual defeat. This character flaw not only shaped the course of the conflict but also led to the downfall of the Kaurava dynasty

Jealousy and Hatred

The root of many of Duryodhana’s actions is his intense jealousy of the Pandavas, particularly their close relationship with Lord Krishna and their popularity among the people and the court. This jealousy blinds him to the consequences of his actions, leading him to make decisions that are not only harmful to others but ultimately to himself and his own family.

The Game of Dice

The rigged game of dice, a pivotal event in the Mahabharata, was orchestrated by Duryodhana to humiliate the Pandavas and usurp their kingdom. His arrogance blinded him to the immorality of his actions, including the public disrobing of Draupadi, which further deepened the enmity between the cousins and rallied support for the Pandavas from various quarters.

Humiliation of Draupadi:

Duryodhana’s arrogance reaches a peak when he orders Draupadi’s disrobing in the royal court. This act is a blatant violation of dharma, showcasing his disregard for righteousness and moral principles.

Insulting the Pandavas during Exile:

Duryodhana, along with his brothers, ridicules the Pandavas during their exile by visiting them in forest with pomp and power. His arrogance leads him to underestimate the strength and resilience of the Pandavas.

Refusal of Good Counsel

Duryodhana’s downfall is precipitated by his consistent refusal to listen to wise counsel. Despite advice from elders like Bhishma, Vidura, and even warnings from Lord Krishna, Duryodhana chooses the path of conflict. Instead, he surrounded himself with sycophants who fuelled his ego and reinforced his misguided beliefs. This arrogance prevented him from making sound decisions and ultimately led to his downfall. His refusal to compromise or seek peace is driven by his desire to defeat the Pandavas at any cost, illustrating his inability to rise above personal vendettas for the greater good.

Igniting the Conflict

Duryodhana’s refusal to share even a small portion of the kingdom with the Pandavas, which could have prevented the war, stemmed from his arrogance. His belief in his unassailable right to rule the entire Kuru kingdom without opposition set the stage for the conflict. His actions, driven by jealousy and the desire to see the Pandavas humiliated and powerless, directly led to the animosity that culminated in the Kurukshetra War.

Rejection of Peace Negotiations

Duryodhana’s arrogance was evident in his rejection of multiple attempts at peace negotiations, most notably by Lord Krishna, who personally came as an emissary of peace to avoid the war. Duryodhana’s refusal to concede even five villages to the Pandavas showcased his overconfidence and belief in his inevitable victory, disregarding the catastrophic consequences of war. Duryodhana’s arrogance directly contributes to the outbreak of the Kurukshetra war, leading to immense destruction and loss of life.

Underestimating the Pandavas and Their Allies

Duryodhana consistently underestimated the capabilities of the Pandavas and their allies, attributing their successes to luck rather than skill or valour. His arrogance prevented him from recognizing the strategic acumen of Krishna and the martial prowess of Arjuna and Bhima, which were instrumental in the Pandavas’ victories on the battlefield.

Tactical Errors in War

Duryodhana’s arrogance influenced his decision-making during the war, leading to tactical errors. He often ignored the counsel of experienced generals like Bhishma and Drona, insisting on strategies that played into the Pandavas’ hands. His insistence on placing Shalya, who bore no love for him, as the charioteer for Karna is one such example where personal pride overruled strategic wisdom.

Lack of Self-Reflection:

Duryodhana’s arrogance prevents him from acknowledging his own faults and mistakes. Instead of self-reflection, he consistently blames others for the consequences of his actions.

Personal Downfall and the Kaurava Defeat

Ultimately, Duryodhana’s arrogance sealed his fate and that of the Kauravas. His inability to heed good advice, reconcile with the Pandavas led to his isolation and defeat. In the end, his arrogance left him alone, wounded, and awaiting death on the battlefield, symbolizing the destructive power of unchecked ego and pride.


In summary, Duryodhana’s arrogance was a catalyst for the Mahabharata War and played a significant role in his defeat. It blinded him to the moral, strategic, and personal consequences of his actions, leading to the near annihilation of the Kuru dynasty and serving as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked ambition, pride, jealousy and hubris.

In essence, Duryodhana’s downfall was not just the result of his martial defeat but a consequence of his moral and ethical failings, rooted deeply in his arrogance. This trait led him to actions that estranged allies, provoked enmities, and blinded him to the realities of his situation, illustrating the destructive consequences of arrogance unchecked by wisdom or humility.

Draupadi, a central figure in the epic Mahabharata, is an embodiment of beauty, dignity, and strength. Her story is intricately woven into the fabric of the Mahabharata, serving as both a catalyst and a pivotal force in the Kurukshetra War. The attempted disrobing of Draupadi, also known as Panchali, is a pivotal and harrowing episode in Mahabharata, showcasing profound themes of honour, dignity, justice, and divine intervention. This incident not only underscores the moral decay prevalent in the Kuru dynasty but also acts as a catalyst for the events leading to the Kurukshetra War. Her life and experiences highlight the complexities of dharma (righteousness), the consequences of adharma (unrighteousness), and the intricate dynamics of human relationships. This article explores Draupadi’s significant role and her impact on the events leading to and during the Mahabharata War.

The Incident: After losing everything, including their kingdom, in a rigged game of dice to their cousins, the Pandavas are tricked into staking Draupadi. Upon winning her, Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, seeks to humiliate the Pandavas further by instructing his brother Dushasana to bring Draupadi into the royal court and disrobe her in front of the assembly, which included the Pandavas, Kuru elders, and other royals. Draupadi is forcefully dragged into the court by Dushasana. When she appeals for justice, pointing out the illegality of her being staked in the game since the Pandavas had already lost themselves and had no right to stake her, her pleas fall on deaf ears. As Dushasana begins to disrobe her, Draupadi prays to Lord Krishna for help. In response to her prayers, Krishna miraculously provides her an unending stream of cloth, thus protecting her dignity and preventing her disrobing. This incident was instrumental in deepening the animosity between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, setting the stage for the Kurukshetra War.

Divine Intervention and Faith: The miraculous saving of Draupadi’s honour underscores the theme of divine intervention and the protective power of faith. Draupadi’s unflinching devotion to Krishna and her moral righteousness earn her divine protection, highlighting the idea that divine justice supersedes human injustice.

After Effects: The incident intensifies the animosity between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It becomes a significant cause for the eventual Kurukshetra War, as it starkly reveals the adharmic (unrighteous) actions of the Kauravas, making reconciliation impossible. It also elicits a profound sense of injustice and vows of revenge. Draupadi swears not to tie her hair until she has washed it in the blood of Dushasana, signifying a deep thirst for justice. Bhima, her husband, vows to tear open Dushasana’s chest and kill him and break Duryodhana’s thighs, which he eventually fulfilled during the Kurukshetra War.

Empowerment and Voice of Draupadi: Draupadi emerges as a strong and articulate voice against injustice, challenging the patriarchal norms and the silence of the elders. Her questions and defiance become a rallying point for discussions on justice, the rights of women, and the moral responsibilities of those in power. The elders’ silence and inaction, despite recognizing the adharma in the Kauravas’ actions, raise important questions about the nature of duty, especially when adhering to one aspect of dharma leads to the violation of another.

Consequences of Gambling: The incident underscores the destructive consequences of gambling and how it can lead to the degradation of moral values, respect, and human dignity.

Solidification of Allegiances: The incident cements the divisions within the Kuru family, with individuals and factions choosing sides based on their reactions to the injustice meted out to Draupadi. It sets the stage for the eventual conflict, where dharma and adharma are pitted against each other.

Karma and Retribution: The incident set the stage for the concept of karma and eventual retribution. The Kauravas faced the consequences of their adharmic actions on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

The attempted disrobing of Draupadi, thus, is not merely an episode of personal humiliation but a moment of profound ethical, social, and divine significance in the Mahabharata. It highlights the themes of justice, the power of faith, the complexities of dharma, and the necessity of standing up against wrongdoing, which reverberate far beyond the confines of the story, touching upon universal truths and moral considerations. It underscores the necessity of divine intervention when human institutions fail, and it strongly condemns the bystander effect, highlighting the importance of standing up against injustice. This episode, rich in symbolism and ethical dilemmas, remains one of the most discussed and analyzed parts of the Mahabharata, resonating with themes of justice, dignity, respect for women, and the protection of the vulnerable in society.