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After reading the death of Abhimanyu by BORI and KMG, I asked myself since then, why is his death considered so unjust?

Was he attacked in a group? Yes, but the attack only broke his bow, his horses, his chariot, his sword and the wheel of his chariot. Sure, they threw arrows at him, but Abhimanyu had armor so strong that it was hard to pierce, that's why Drona said it was impenetrable.

In fact, those warriors allowed him to kill a brother of Shakuni, some rathas and soldiers. He then killed the horses of Dussasana's son, and they met in a mace fight where Abhimanyu died in a fair fight.

The truth is that I found Alambusha's death, he died too brutally, much worse than Abhimanyu. Because unlike Abhimanyu, he was pierced on all sides and received such a strong blow from Ghatotkacha that all his bones broke.

Also, as far as I know, Karna broke his arc front, because BORI and KMG never mention that he attacked Abhimanyu from behind, neither Krishna nor Arjuna considered him cut by Adharma.

So, my question is, why is Abhimanyu's death is considered unfair if Alambusha died more brutally, and Shalya died in a similar way?

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    Did anyone say not to consider others' death unfair? – user16618 Nov 24 '18 at 3:33
  • Ghatotkacha and Alambusha yudha style was different...they were Rakshasas actually...they even didn't stop fighting in night too...but that doesn't mean they were praised doing so... – YDS Nov 25 '18 at 6:10
  • That happens with the illusions, Alambusha fought well, would be considered an average warrior who was brutally killed by 11 warriors – Gabriel Alexander Gonzalez Agu Nov 25 '18 at 12:39
  • Alambusha was a better warrior than karna. – Knowledge Seeker Mar 12 '19 at 1:17
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He then killed the horses of Dussasana's son, and they met in a mace fight where Abhimanyu died in a fair fight.

No, it was not fair fight.

As per Mahabharata: Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva, soon before it, a group attack happened (as mentioned in your question) where Karna cutt off Abhimanyu's bow, Kritavarman slew his steeds, Kripa slew his two Parshni charioteers, and others covered him with showers of arrows after he had been divested of his bow.

Those six great car-warriors, with great speed, when speed was so necessary, ruthlessly covered that carless youth, fighting single-handed with them, with showers of arrows.

Further Drona cut off the hilt of Abhimanyu's sword and Karna cut off his shield.

And after all of this, the fight between son of Duhsasan and Abhimanyu happened. Here, also Duhsasana's son struck Abhimanyu with the mace when he was armless and was about to rise up from unconsciousness.

Each of those chastisers of foes, struck with the other's mace-ends fell down on the earth, like two uprooted standards erected to the honour of Indra. Then Duhsasana's son, that enhancer of the fame of the Kurus, rising up first, struck Abhimanyu with the mace on the crown of his head, as the latter, was on the point of rising.

And finally

Stupefied with the violence of that stroke as also with the fatigue he had undergone, that slayer of hostile hosts, viz., the son of Subhadra, fell on the earth, deprived of his senses.

So it is clearly mentioned that the group attack was one of the causes in his death. Also, attacking armless is not fair; if it was fair then, there have been no question on Arjuna killing Karna or Dhrishtdyuman killing Drona etc.

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    Krishna simply wanted to kill them unfairly because they were stronger than Arjuna, nothing with the murder of Abhimanyu – Gabriel Alexander Gonzalez Agu Nov 25 '18 at 12:49
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My reasoning for calling Abhimanyu's killing unfair :

  1. He was a young boy who wasn't that experienced and veteran in warfare. Surely he was talented and his skills were highly appreciated by many warriors, but he wasn't capable of, in terms of experience and expertise, even battling Drona alone, to kill whom even Krishna couldn't come up with a fair plan. I agree that Abhimanyu was undefeated by both, Bhisma and Drona, gave them both a bitter fight. However, that was only because they both chose not to use celestial weapons against him, and partially due to his impenetrable armour. Had it been that any of these two, or even Karna, would've vowed to kill Abhimanyu, he was no match for their paraphernalia of divine arsenals. As per the martial code back then, it was well known that you can fight with a warrior who's comparable to you. As Abhimanyu was comparable to Drona, Karna or Ashwatthama, they should've fought him on a one-to-one duel rather than teaming up. Taking up multiple partners (not just assistance) to fight an equal was considered below dignity. I believe, if Drona had a choice, he would've always preferred fighting Abhimanyu single-handedly, or let Karna, Ashwatthama, or Kripacharya tackle him alone.

  2. Group attack isn't unfair, but when the group consists of 25-30 various Rathis and Maharathis, out of which 20-22 were killed by Abhimanyu. Arjun was far superior to Abhimanyu, yet he would get exhausted tackling Karna, Kripa or Drona alone. Here this boy was onslaught by all of these together. Everyone knew this was unfair.

  3. Karna was defeated 4 times by Abhimanyu in the battle and each time left him unkilled as he knew it was his father's oath to kill Karna. Seeing that not even Karna could stop this boy who's already killed more than 20 heroes, Drona revealed his fear to Duryodhana that Abhimanyu might break the Chakravyuha. So the alarmed Dhuryodhan instructs Karna to tackle Abhimanyu from the back as fighting him from the front was seeming impossible. From there he repeatedly broke his bows and damaged his chariot forcing him to take up the sword. A maharathi attacking someone from the back, although indirectly, while he's fighting more than a dozen heroes combined on the front single-handedly, was a pure shame. Nothing could justify that.

  4. Originally this plot was devised for Yudhishtir as a strategy to capture him alive, of which even Yudhishtir himself was aware. But being unskilled in breaking into the Chakravyuha he takes Abhimanyu's assistance to lead and break in. However, seeing a lone Abhimanyu making his way in, Jayadratha was tempted to change the plan, and Abhimanyu was somehow opportunistically sacrificed. It actually made no sense for the Kauravas to attack Abhimanyu so mercilessly, given that this was nowhere close to their plan. But then, seeing him alone and unsupported by other Pandavas, they took unfair advantage of the situation. This was no strategy, but an unfair game that was opportunistic in every way.

  5. Even when Abhimanyu was duelling Dusshasana's son, he was fallen on the ground unconscious. It was then that Dusshasana's son hits him with his mace from the back before he could be fully conscious, let alone get up and be ready to fight. According to the martial code, you cannot by any means attack a fallen opponent, nor when he's not ready to fight (nevermind unconscious), and also never from the back. All these rules were thrown out of the window just to kill Abhimanyu by hook or by crook.

  6. After Abhimanyu was killed, Vikarna, the only kind-hearted and righteous Kaurava, threw his weapon in disgust saying that it is a grave shame to kill such a young boy so ruthlessly by so many warriors using unfair means. Worst of all neither did Kripacharya or Drona, who were the upholders of moral laws, spoke a single word against Duryodhana's decision and left the place in shame.

In this way, Abhimanyu was killed unfairly by many warriors including Karna, Duryodhana, Ashwatthama, Drona, Shakuni, Dushasana, Kritavarma, Shalya. The reason for Arjuna to vow Jayadratha's death the next day was because Jayaddratha was the sole reason to change the plan opportunistically very well knowing what would follow after isolating Abhimanyu inside.

Hope this helps!

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    Welcome to Hinduism Stack Exchange! You should cite some sources. Visit help center for more information. – Pandya Nov 24 '18 at 12:20
  • But that made Abhimanyu days before Bhagadatta, Bhishma and Drona, and attacked them with at least 20 warriors along with divisions. And people ignore such a thing. Karna or the son of Dussasana did not attack him from behind, maybe it is the popular idea but in authentic texts it does not happen. – Gabriel Alexander Gonzalez Agu Nov 24 '18 at 13:11
  • @gabrielalexandergonzalezagu It was fight between group of many people with weapons in their hands VS single person with no weapon. You call that fair fight...?? Let me tell you, When Ravana came to fight with Raama on first day of war then Raama's bows cuts down all weapons of Ravana. Raama destroyed his chariot also. So as result Ravana become Chariotless and weaponless. By seeing this condition of Ravana, Raama said to Ravan that you has no weapons and no chariot, hence as per kshatriya dharma I can't attack you now, go and come again tomorow with weapons. This is maryadaya purhsottam Raam – Vishvam Nov 25 '18 at 7:30
  • disarmed? Abhimanyu had a club at the time of fighting against the son of Dussasana, in addition those of the group attack stopped him from attacking – Gabriel Alexander Gonzalez Agu Nov 25 '18 at 12:36
  • @gabrielalexandergonzalezagu He had weapon earlier but later he lost all his weapons. Many warriors surrounded him when he was disarmed, that's why he took wheel of his chariot to use it as weapon against all those warriors coz he had nothing left. And a wheel of chariot can't be called as weapon. Hence he was totally weaponless when he got surrounded by all those warriors. – Vishvam Nov 25 '18 at 17:31
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Abhimanyu was killed in a fair war if we read the scenario of whole war. He had a lot of advantage in the war. Let's read about his advantages and later we I crush the misconception regarding the war.

Advantages of Abhimanyu

  • He was under the protection of a celestial armour protecting him from the attacks of warriors.

Abhimanyu is young, his prowess is great. His coat of mail is impenetrable. This one's father had been taught by me the method of wearing defensive armour. This subjugator of hostile towns assuredly knoweth the entire science (of wearing armour).

Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XLVI

  • He had a boon of being invincible in war for a day

And, indeed, your portions, ye celestials, shall fight, having made that disposition of the forces which is known by the name of the Chakra-vyuha. And my son shall compel all foes to retreat before him. The boy of mighty arms having penetrated the impenetrable array, shall range within it fearlessly and send a fourth part of the hostile force, in course of half a day, unto the regions of the king of the dead. Then when numberless heroes and mighty car-warriors will return to the charge towards the close of the day, my boy of mighty arms, shall reappear before me. And he shall beget one heroic son in his line, who shall continue the almost extinct Bharata race.' Hearing these words of Soma, the dwellers in heaven replied, 'So be it.' And then all together applauded and worshipped (Soma) the king of stars.

Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section LXVII

Apart from this celestial bow and chariot was also with the Abhimanyu. Now it's the time to crush misconception of his death.

Misconceptions of war.

  1. Abhimanyu was alone inside the chakra vyuh.

Mahabharat tells us that he had an army killed by Karna.

Karna with rage and desirous of doing good to thy son, rained showers of sharp arrows on the invincible Abhimanyu. And the heroic karna, as if in contempt of his antagonist, also pierced the latter's followers on the field of battle, with many excellent shafts of great sharpness.

Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XXXVII

2.Group attack on Abhimanyu

Abhimanyu faced the group attack but he was not killed in a group attack. This group attack was only for disarming him. He was taking that much advantage so I think that it was not a cheating.

Hearing these words of the preceptor, Vikartana's son Karna quickly cut off, by means of his shafts, the bow of Abhimanyu, as the latter was shooting with great activity. He, of Bhoja's race (viz., Kritavarman) then slew his steeds, and Kripa slew his two Parshni charioteers. The others covered him with showers of arrows after he had been divested of his bow. Those six great car-warriors, with great speed, when speed was so necessary, ruthlessly covered that carless youth, fighting single-handed with them, with showers of arrows. Bowless and carless, with an eye, however, to his duty (as a warrior), handsome Abhimanyu, taking up a sword and a shield, jumped into the sky. Displaying great strength and great activity, and describing the tracks called Kausika and others, the son of Arjuna fiercely coursed through the sky, like the prince of winged creatures (viz., Garuda.). 'He may fall upon me sword in hand,' with such thoughts, those mighty bowmen, were on the lookout for the laches of Abhimanyu, and began to pierce him in that battle, with their gaze turned upwards. Then Drona of mighty energy, that conqueror of foes with a sharp arrow quickly cut off the hilt, decked with gems, of Abhimanyu's sword. Radha's son Karna, with sharp shafts, cut off his excellent shield. Deprived of his sword and shield thus, he came down, with sound limbs, from the welkin upon the earth. Then taking up a car-wheel, he rushed in wrath against Drona. His body bright with the dust of car-wheels, and himself holding the car-wheel in his upraised arms, Abhimanyu looked exceedingly beautiful, and imitating Vasudeva (with his discus), became awfully fierce for a while in that battle.

Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XLVI

See, they not attacked him but only disarmed him. Group attacks we're common in the entire Mahabharat. Even Abhimanyu was a master of group attack.

And foot-soldiers and steeds and cars and elephants, belonging to thy army and numbering by hundreds, all accomplished in smitting rushed to the spot where Karna was frightening (his assailants). Then Dhrishtadyumna, and Bhima and Subhadra's son, and Arjuna himself, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, began to protect Satyaki in that battle.

Drona Parva: Dronabhisheka Parva: Section XXX

All warriors including Abhimanyu attacked Karna for protecting Satyaki.

"Sanjaya said, 'The Parthas then, headed by Bhimasena, approached that invincible array protected by Bharadwaja's son. And Satyaki, and Chekitana, and Dhrishtadyumna. the son of Prishata, and Kuntibhoja of great prowess, and the mighty car-warrior Drupada. and Arjuna's son (Abhimanyu), and Kshatradharman, and the valiant Vrihatkshatra, and Dhrishtaketu, the ruler of the Chedis, and the twin sons of Madri, (viz., Nakula and Sahadeva), and Ghatotkacha, and the powerful Yudhamanyu and the unvanquished Sikhandin, and the irresistible Uttamaujas and the mighty car-warrior Virata, and the five sons of Draupadi,--these all excited with wrath, and the valiant son of Sisupala, and the Kaikeyas of mighty energy, and the Srinjayas by thousands,--these and others, accomplished in weapons and difficult of being resisted in battle, suddenly rushed, at the head of their respective followers, against Bharadwaja's son, from a desire of battle. The valiant son of Bharadwaja, however, fearlessly checked all those warriors, as soon as they came near, with a thick shower of arrows. Like a mighty wave of waters coming against an impenetrable hill, or the surging sea itself approaching its bank, those warriors were pushed back by Drona. And the Pandavas, O king, afflicted by the shafts shot from Drona's bow, were unable to stay before him.

Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XXXIII

Abhimanyu attacked Drona with 22 warriors and Drona defeated all of them single handedly. There are many other group attacks organized by pandavas then why only Group attack on Abhimanyu is so much overrated.

3.Abhimanyu was attacked by Duhsasan's son when he was tired and unarmed.

Proceeding next towards the car of Dussasana's son, he crushed the latter's car and steeds, pressing them down into the earth. The invincible son of Dussasana, then, O sire, taking up his mace, rushed at Abhimanyu. saying, 'Wait, Wait!' Then those cousins, those two heroes, with upraised maces, began to strike each other, desirous of achieving each other's death, like three-eyed (Mahadeva) and (the Asura) Andhaka in the days of old. I ach of those chastisers of foes, struck with the other's mace-ends fell down on the earth, like two uprooted standards erected to the honour of Indra. Then Dussasana's son, that enhancer of the fame of the Kurus, rising up first, struck Abhimanyu with the mace on the crown of his head, as the latter, was on the point of rising. Stupefied with the violence of that stroke as also with the fatigue he had undergone, that slayer of hostile hosts, viz., the son of Subhadra, fell on the earth, deprived of his senses.

Drona Parva: Abhimanyu-badha Parva: Section XLVII

Read here. Abhimanyu himslef attacked Duhsasan's son with a mace and killed in a fair war. Kauravas allowed Abhimanyu to fight him with Duhsasan's son and not interfered between the war. So he was killed fairly.

Original answer.

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