Monday, December 21, 2009

A Story on the Anniversary of 26/11

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    • I’ll tell you a story from the Mahabharata. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

      The setting for the story is when Duryodhana’s jealousy against the Pandavas, his cousins, begins to reach unmanageable proportions. The Pandavas, as young princes have secured a worshipful place in the hearts of the subjects and are praised by everybody and Yudhishtira’s place as the future king is assured.

      In a bid to pacify Duryodhana, Shakuni, his maternal uncle, invites a political strategist and advisor from Gandhara to deliver a sermon to Duryodhana. The advisor tells Duryodhana a story.

    • The advisor concluded the story with a footnote that summed up its essence. He told Duryodhana that it was legitimate to use any and every means to vanquish the enemy. This story is a classic instance of effectively using Bheda (strategy, cunning, deceit) and Danda (punishment, war), in the parlance of statecraft.

      This story set the stage for Dhritrashtra, Duryodhana’s father, to initiate the murder of the Pandavas by sending them to the Lakshagriha (the Palace made of Wax) and then burning them alive.

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