Ekalavya is one of the well-known characters from the epic ‘Mahabharata.’ His name is often mentioned and considered synonymous with any situation that demands ultimate sacrifice. This self-taught archer considered Dronacharya as his Guru who earlier rejected him owing to his caste. He taught himself to listen to sounds from afar and shot perfectly at his mark. However, he sacrificed his right thumb to Dronacharya as a ‘Guru Dakshina,’ ending his days as an archer. The modern-day Ekalavya’s story is not so grim but highly inspirational just like the mythological character.
Chhattisgarh is a place surrounded by mountains and dense forest. There are many skillful archers in the locality. One among them is Kounduram. However, his story is little different from the others. This self-taught archer can hit his mark with his eyes closed guided only by sound. Seems like a fantasy story? Well, it’s absolutely real!
This resident of Bhimbhori village was an folk-theatre performer who enacted scenes from Ramayan. While reading this epic for the first time he heard about the concept of ‘Shabdha-Vedha’ or Sonic archery. As depicted in epics, this is a practice where an archer is so skilled that he is able to hit the mark only by listening to its sound. Initially, he started using bow and arrow in his acts to entertain the audience, then he seriously started learning about the same with the aim to master this particular art.
It took him a long time but finally, he mastered sonic archery. Eventually, his talent was also recognized and he was given many awards. He also earned the nickname ‘Van-Devta’ or God of arrows.
Despite this achievement, his sadness lies in the fact that he is the only one who has mastered this art. Also, people are not interested in learning sonic archery. His regret is that there is no one to carry his legacy.