Shikhandi is a character in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. He was born as a girl child named ‘Shikhandini’ to Drupada, the king of Panchala. Shikhandi fought in the Kurukshetra war on the side of the Pandavas, along with his father Drupada and brother Dhristadyumna. His son’s name was Kshatradeva.
In Mahabharata there are conversations between persons and the personal biases of some along with the neutrality of others need to be taken into consideration. Mahabharata is also filled with politics and politicians. Many of the personalities mentioned in the Mahabharata were also under the influence of humanly existences hence one has to apply intelligence to gather what happened. The life of Shikandi (Shikandin) is such an example.
There is the story of Shikandin being Amba in his previous birth while there is the story of Shikandin being a Rakshasa in his previous birth. Due to the circumstances prevalent during the lifetime of Bhishma and due to the circumstances of the war that was being fought at Kurukshetra it could be seen that Bhishma and others were led to believe Sikhandin was the reincarnation of Amba especially since Sikhandin was born as a female before becoming a man.
This was most likely due to the fact that Bhishma would not raise weapons on a woman and considered Shikandin a woman since he was born as a woman. In the battle of Kurukshetra, Bhishma recognised him as Amba reborn, and not wanting to fight ‘a woman’, lowered his weapons. Knowing that Bhishma would react thus to Shikhandi, Arjuna hid behind Shikhandi and attacked Bhishma with a devastating volley of arrows.
Thus, Shikhandi’s role was instrumental in Bhishma’s death. Shikhandi was finally killed by Ashwatthama on the 18th day of battle.Shikhandi is killed in a sword fight with Ashwatthama when Ashwatthama, Kripacharya, and Kritaverma attacked the Pandava camp on the night of the final day of battle.
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