08/10/2017 11:30 AM IST | Updated 09/10/2017 10:40 AM IST

The Mahabharata’s Bhima May Have Married The Most Modern Woman Ever

Meet Hidimbi.

Mukesh Gupta / Reuters

By Debolina Coomar*

The Mahabharata is a comprehensive account of relationships, values, conspiracies, loyalty, courage, and every possible accountable human emotion and traits. It is about family and foes, about the gods and mortals, and about the struggles and victories in human life. It is also about immortal love stories that still find relevance in contemporary society. One such tale of love and sacrifice—although it is rarely highlighted—is that of Bhima and Hidimbi.

Bhima, the second son of Kunti and an epitome of strength, was conceived when his mother invoked the God of Wind, Vayu, to bless her with a child as per the boon given to her by sage Durvasa.

Hidimbi might be the forgotten queen of the Mahabharata, but she will always remain an integral part of the epic. It's time to start telling her inspiring story.

Bhima was powerful and strong, and very well trained in physical combat and other military arts. He loved his family and was loyal to his clan. He was a royal prince, but went through a lot of hardships along with his mother and brothers, never leaving their side.

On the other hand, Hidimbi was a rakshasa, and lived in the jungle with her brother, Hidimba. Her brother tormented the villagers and killed people for food. But Hidimbi was a good person at heart and wanted to save the people from her brother's wrath.

During the long exile in the forest, the Pandavas faced many obstacles. One of them was Bhima's encounter with Hidimba in which the rakshasa was killed—but which also gave rise to a beautiful love story. Hidimbi fell in love with Bhima and persuaded Kunti to allow them to get married. They consummated their marriage in the forest and their son Ghatotkacha was born.

Before Draupadi arrived on the scene, Hidimbi was the first wife of a Pandava brother and the first daughter-in-law of the royal empire. But she never got the honour and place due to her in our cultural history. Later, Bhima left Hidimbi and their son in the forest and continued his life with his family.

Ultimately, Bhima and Hidimbi's is a love story of sacrifice, belief and mutual understanding that we can easily relate to today.

Love can happen to anyone

Falling in love with someone outside one's caste or religion is still considered a taboo in our society. But love can blossom anywhere—which is something that Bhima and Hidimbi's love story illustrates as well. An eternal bond between a royal prince and a rakshasa shows that emotions do not know boundaries.

A woman can make the first move

In our patriarchal society, we always think that the man should propose first. However, Hidimbi was the one who confessed her love for Bhima and was upfront in her proposal to Kunti about marrying him.

The ability to let go

We all know that after 14 years of vanvas, the Pandavas had to return to the kingdom. Hence, Bhima left Hidimbi in the forest with her clan and went away. She agreed with and supported this decision. Though we might debate over whether what Bhima did was right, we can definitely compare her dedication, loyalty and sacrifice with the women of today who let go of their husbands who serve their country. The wives of armed forces sacrifice a lot when their husbands leave them for a greater cause.

Raising a child alone

When Bhima left Hidimbi, she single-handedly raised their son. She is not unlike the single mothers of today who bring up their children without any help from a man. They are strong-willed and independent women, who are also an inspiration for others.

Hidimbi might be the forgotten queen of the Mahabharata, but she will always remain an integral part of the epic. It's time to start telling her inspiring story and to highlight the values that it represents.

* Debolina Coomar is an ex-HR professional who is currently working as a freelance content and creative writer, content developer and blogger.

This post first appeared here.

The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of HuffPost India. Any omissions or errors are the author's and HuffPost India does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

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