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

For a Heaven Peddled

For a God unseen
We sacrifice
Those who need ours
We leave them
To mercy of God
Indoctrained from childhood
We offer prayers
And fill the coffers
Of those
Whose business is
The soul of mortals
Who amongst us
Has seen afterlife
For a heaven peddled
We mortgage our present
And create hell
On earth
While the custodians
Of morality
Turn a blind eye
As the powerfuls
Bend the rules
They have sold
Their souls
And tangoed with
The devil
Offering balms
To our tortured souls
If politics makes
Strange bedfellows
Religion is not
Far behind

“WRONG”! Week Twenty Eight of My Fifty Two Weeks Journey with the Letter ” W”

We come to this world pure and innocent.  Slowly as we start growing up, we start to learn what is right and what is wrong.  It is out of love and concern about our safety that our elders, knowingly or unknowingly, start teaching us what is good for us and what is bad. We do not have much choice. Left to ourselves we would have learnt everything by trial and error as we grew older, if we would have been lucky enough to survive our curiosity.  So early on in our life, we learn to be subservient to our elders in believing what is right and what is wrong.

Many of us during our adulthood relearn to judge for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. Sadly, many of us never grow up.  We abdicate our responsibilities to judge for ourselves and become blind followers.  We rent out our brains to others to play with it as they like and become puppets, to dance at the will of our puppet masters as they pull our strings.  Simply put, we just become unable to decipher right from wrong.  We let ourselves be manipulated and start believing whatever our puppet masters put into our brains.  Otherwise how can one justify killing for any cause. We have sanctified killings and tortures by awarding Nobel Peace Prize to people whose hands were sullied by the blood of  their fellow human beings, we have declared people as saints who had tortured their fellow human beings in the name of their faith and God.  We always find a reason to justify those actions of ours.  If those killings and tortures can be right, then why other killings and tortures are wrong.

For me, personally, what is wrong is wrong.  We may try to wash that wrong in milk to make it look like pure lily white, but that does not make it right. Concoction of politics and religion, the venomous brew of race, ethnicity, language and nationality has poisoned our minds to such an extent that a day may soon come when the human race, whatever left of it,  may be dancing the dance of ultimate destruction on the cemetery of it’s own creation.

Before I start sounding like one of those sermonizing pundits who invade our houses day and night through the wonders of modern technology at light speed, let me share with you the starting word of the poem for week twenty eight of my fifty two weeks journey with the letter “W”.  You, my dear readers, must have guessed it by now and you are not “WRONG”.


This post is in response to Write Anything Wednesday-Aug-010-2016 sponsored by Writerish Ramblings

Law of the Jungle

Spreading and suppressing
Helping hands
Always available
Strength of the sword
Supporting organized religion

Messages and teachings of peace and nirvana
Languished in the country of its birth
Till got the backing of a repenting royal
And the strength of the exchequer
To spread to the world beyond

Followers of messenger of peace
Persecuted and forced underground
Nearly driven to extinction
Came roaring back with royal patronage
To persecute and oppress those
Who won’t follow the book
Or did not fit the mold
Burnt at the stakes as witches
Crusades and inquisitions
To kill and convert
In the name of the one
Who gave his life for others

Colonization followed by proselytization
In the name of saving their souls
Destroying native cultures
Enslaving millions
Uprooted from their homes
All condoned and blessed
In the name of the
Unknown one

The religion of peace
Spread by the
Strength of the sword
There is no other
Except the great

Spread his name
By force if need be
No instruments of conversion
Off the book
Make the world homogeneous
By hook or by crook
Liquid gold underground
Spread the new found wealth
To spread his name
Pretend atrocities in his name
Work of a radicalized few
Silent majority afraid of
Wrath of the sword
Exacting tacit support

Socialism and communism
Another name
For same organized game
Rule of the proletariat
By ruling over the proletariat
Sending millions to gulags to die
Power flowing from the barrel of the gun
Rulers of proletariat having all the fun

During the course of human history
It has always been the same
Whoever has the mightier sword
Writing the rules of the game
Organized activities, politics or religion
Or the Olympic games, all the same

Meek shall inherit the world
Reduced to ashes by
Games played by a powerful few

Till then it’s the
Rule of the jungle
Eons ago from where we came
Eat or be eaten
Be silent and save your skin

Of course I am meek and PC
I didn’t say any name
I do love dearly
What’s on top of my neck.

whyhistorymatters

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