Thursday Tidbits: Lesson from history

Lessons on politics are spread around the pages of Indian epic Mahabharata. We may ignore them at our own peril by dismissing Mahabharata as mythology but its teachings still ring true in this modern age.

My intention today is not to discuss the teachings of Mahabharata but about a few episodes form the first major empire of recorded history in India. History of the first major ruling dynasty of India has a few lessons of its own that are still valid today. I am not talking about the current Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. This is about the rise and fall of the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE).

1. Kautilya Chanakya (Vishnugupta), the author of “Arthashastra”, considered one of theImage result for free picture of Chanakya and chandragupta maurya greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion ever produced(Maurya Empire-New World Encyclopedia),was the brain behind rise of Chandragupta Maurya and the Mauryan Empire.  Chandragupta Maurya defeated King DhanaNanda (Nanda dynasty) in battle for the throne. Dhana Nanda’s erstwhile prime minister Rakshasa plotted with enemies of Chandragupta.  With the good of the country in his heart, Chankya skillfully manipulated Rakshasa to accept a prominent position in Chandragupta’s administration. Chanakya knew that Rakshasa was an able administrator and counsellor who would be an asset to Chandragupta in friendship rather than as an adversary. Chanakya’s courting and manipulation of Rakshasa for accepting the position is the story of MudraRakshasa kavya.

Lesson : For greater good of the country, build bridges and not sit on your ego. Reward merit.
May be Machiavelli learnt a thing or two from Chanakya.

2. Asoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya converted to Buddhism after the battle of Ashoka's visit to the Ramagrama stupa Sanchi Stupa 1 Southern gateway.jpgKalinga and opened the exchequer for proliferation of Buddhism far and wide neglecting the army and thereby leaving the country vulnerable to external attacks. Maurya empire did not sustain for long after Ashoka’s death thereby fragmentation of the central authority and balkanization of India the price for which modern India paid with the division of the country.
Lesson: Do not mix religion and politics.
Lesson: The exchequer is not personal property of the ruler to be spent on pet projects to the detriment of the country.

This is my simplistic readings of history. Opinions of intellectuals may differ.


Emperor Ashoka’s picture source is Wikipedia, Chanakya’s impression from New World Encyclopedia

Price of Lost Freedom

There is truth
Then there is absolute truth
In between is the murky world
Where science is harangued by charlatans
Evolution battles with creation
News gets bombarded by fake news
Power trumps common sense
And more often than not
Cream that rises to the top
Is nothing but scum that floats
Facts get tortured out of shape
Decency hides behind veils of political correctness
Courage gives way to party lines
Patriotism becomes a game
Humanity slaughtered at the altar of ambition
And somewhere the lies illude us all
When truth becomes the victim
Chaos and mayhem not far behind
Those who prefer to forget history
Will pay the price of lost freedom

Love is a four letter word, so is pain

Letting go will ease the pain, they say

Only if leaving would have been easy

Value what you have, cherish today

Everything past is history, future fantasy


To my dear readers, I will be out for few weeks on a trip and may not have good internet connections.  So till we meet again, Happy Holidays and here is to wishing you all a very happy New Year 2018 in advance.

Where dreams come to die

‘We know their dream; enough

To know they dreamed and are dead; ‘ —W.B. Yeats ‘

 

Beware all ye who tread this road
Myriads traversed this path long before

This path is paved by their bones
Turn around, turn around
Before your dreams crush to dust
Swept under the swirling sands of history
Cries to feeble for those who follow to hear
Sordid stories of the powerful and the mighty
Spinning webs of fortune and glory
Fools following their calls of perceived glitter
Paid the ultimate price, this path doth litter
With their unfulfilled dreams
Ghosts of the tyrants and marauders of the past
False messiahs and society’s vainglorious leaders
With pretentious messages cast long shadows
Ruination only reward for those who follow
Does it matter who go first, dreams or dreamers
Blind followers’ dreams will lie shattered
Those who are left behind
Sheltered observers, detached all
Would rue the lessons of history not learnt
From the safe cocoons of their warm hearths
Wonder why no one heard their call
Beware ye all,
This road is the one chosen
Of all those dreamers
Who left behind their cry
Listen ye all, listen well
This road is the one
Where dreams come to die


This poem is in response to Jane Dougherty’s A Month (November) with Yeats Challenge day Twenty Four

Bloodhounds are running amok

‘The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;’ – WB Yeats

They come in ones, they come in twos
They come in hordes, they come in groups
Spears, knives and swords are old history
Now they all have guns to create misery
Knights they are not, bravery and chivalry is out the door
Cowards are they, they are not bothered by lore
They have supporters all around claiming guns don’t kill
Those politicians, masquerading righteous saints, up on the Hill
Shedding crocodile tears and observing moments of silence
When innocent lives are snuffed out by acts of dastardly violence
Bloodhounds are running amok emboldened by their backing
Innocence is the victim when pretentious fools refuse to enact ruling


This poem is in response to Jane Dougherty’s A Month (November) with Yeats Challenge day Eight

 

 

 

Past is History, Not a Mystery

For those that past is not history but a mystery

Anything that can’t be explained a miracle

At the drop of a hat those who are ready

To confer divinity to reformers of the past

But are ready to punish and instill fear of death

On the followers of reformers of modern age

Heretics and hearsay if you question the past

Are we to believe that everything modern is foolish

And ignore the witch hunts and killings of the past

In the names of the divine and almighties

Fie to those for whom the past is a crutch

To crush any discourse and dissent

Fie to those who will not leave any stone unturned

To keep humanity shackled in fear of an all merciful

Past has becomes a tool in the hands of the powerful

To keep legions in line as blind followers

Reformers, yes! Enlightened humans they were.

We the ignorants put them in pedestals

Covering our eyes with religious blinds

Walking hobbled in our daily life

Looking for a saviour to save our souls

While the merchants of death

Paddle the past as pillars of faith

Woven

Woven into the quilt of our consciousness
Onerous burdens of cultures past
Values hammered and ingrained
Essence of who we really are, lost
Negated by garbage of history

Weaving stories of gods and goddesses
Of gospels passed on as absolute truths
Virtues extolled of mythical heroes
Embellishing divine follies and mischief
Not for mere mortals to divine

Weave we shall a modern tale
Onward in our journey of harmony and peace
Virtues untarnished by divisive forces
Encompassing everyone and love for all
Now is our time to walk proud and tall


Write anything Wednesday Nov-2-2016