Being an avid reader of Mahabharat and been a big fan of the epic for ages, I would like to put my view on the most debated topic of Mahabharat.
Karna is an indispensable character of Mahabharat. In certain versions it's been said that he was not given an opportunity to learn the war skills under Dronacharya. In certain versions it's mentioned that he was trained under Drona for some years. However if we go by the majority of the versions, the world has been biased and prejudiced against Karna. When he displayed his archery talents in one of the intra-hastinapur competitions, Bhishma discouraged him from doing so and asked him to be a charioteer. When he wished to donate to some of the Brahmins, they abstained from taking anything from Karna since he was from lower caste.
Nobody can argue that the people were neutral to Karna for all the skills he displayed. For all the dharma he followed, for all the good deeds he performed.
Without disregarding a pint of respect Karna deserves, I strongly feel, on any given day, Arjun is a far better warrior and a superior human being in the epic of Mahabharata.
Though there are different super traits both warriors displayed in the various circumstances, I would like to quote a few cutting edges where Arjun scored significantly more than Karna.
Karna had always dreamt of winning over Arjun in a battle, That displayed jealousy or self interest to showcase his archery skills and it is not of a common interest to help Gauravas. In fact Shakuni mentions it to Duryodhan a few times, though Duryodhan defer to listen.
Unlike, it is shown in the TV channels, some of the authentic scripts of Mahabharat says Draupati had never degraded Karna during the Swayamvar quoting his caste. However for the argument sake if we believe it to be true, it was again instigated to her by Lord Krishna. Draupati being an incarnation from fire as a grown up girl, lacked to understand the nuances of human beings for some years. So she recklessly followed Krishna to take decisive decisions. So for this incident,like many, Draupati cannot be on the backfoot. However, During Draupati's disrobing activity Karna's instigating Duryodhan to proceed reveals the venomous attitude he had in. You can never pin down Arjun for such activity in the whole Mahabharat.
Karna was gifted with Kavach and Kundal by the sun god. Nothing wrong. But for the battle among humans any uneven advantage should never be given. Imagine in a cricket match only one player is given the helmet and others are asked to play with bare heads. How can that be an impartial clash? This is why he was asked to surrender them by Indra, however he did not give it a freebie. He had a negotiation and he was offered invisible Shakti astra back. Once again no complaints! But the kavach, kundal was not stolen away as it was described by some of the tele serials.
Karna fought against Arjun in Virat war and he lost. Karna had to stab Abhimanyu from behind to get through him. In spite of Duryodhan having a high level of pure credence on his friend, Karna promised Kunti that he would kill only one of her sons and never revealed about the vow to Duryodhan.
Arjun on the other side, was a sincere student to Dronacharya, he gave at most respect to his elder brother Yudhishtra. He agreed to share his desired wife, after winning the swayamvar, to all his brothers for the word of his mother Kunti. He followed every saying of Lord Krishna very religiously and not even once he displayed his ego to him being the world's most powerful warrior.
With all respect to Karna's unconquerable prowessness, undoubtedly, Arjun makes it slightly better than Karna in all the aspects of the displayed trait in the epic Mahabarata.
Keywords : Mahabharat