Two there are, who are never satisfied ;
The lover of the world and the lover of Knowledge. —– Rumi
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I read this book on the recommendation of my friend. It is amazing how some books can help you draw parallel in your life.
The author writes the book inspired by his own life .The main protagonist of the book is Mr. Mohun Biswas who is in quest to get his own house made; this character is based on his father. Biswas is born in not so well off family but marries into a big-shot family of the region. His wife is among the 9 sisters and 2 brothers, there is constant collision between the husbands of the wives for all kinds of superiority, not to mention the sisters themselves have issues with each other.
In the beginning of the book, Mohun Biswas is shown as a baby born with 6 fingers, the sixth finger comes off when he is still 9 days old, considered unlucky child for his sneezing and bringing bad luck to those around him. Later he works as a painter for signs which leads him to his wife Shama’s place. There he paints for the shop’s sign board. Mrs. Tulsi gets his daughter married to him, then there is Seth a trusted advisor of Mrs. Tulsi who treats Biswas pretty much like shit and good for nothing lad. Seth has authority over everything, till the two masters (read Mrs. Tulsi’s sons grow up and take the mantle)
Biswas starts from being a guy who stays at his wife’s place Hanuman House, to one being given menial jobs for survival (in the process being ridiculed) and trying to get the elusive house build. Later in life, he writes as Journalist for Sentinel, A Trinidad Newspaper. This was a job he cherished the most in his life and which gave him a sense of respect (even though the in-laws might not believe so).
The story does gives a good insight into an Indo-Caribbean family where the protagonist is married to socioeconomic better of family and then he has to deal with a wife who worships this family and her brothers. Biswas has 4 children, 1 son and 3 daughters. There are some hilarious typical Indian scenes, which I think are implanted in every Indian family. There is a scene where Biswas is being beaten by his rival that is his wife Shama’s brother-in-law, then Shama’s attempts for status but fear of loathing from her sisters. The pick of them all is sisters trying to score brownie points with their ‘Lord brothers’ by over-weeping when the younger one comes from England, in short attention seeking behavior. The brothers who act like masters in their own right, the Tulsi Family also has a fall out with Seth their administrator guy.
There is one instant, when the youngest brother returns from England (apparently after many years in England) and talks fashionably about Russia, Socialism and Communism, but barely tries to practice the leftist ideas at home or his surroundings. A typical trait in self proclaimed Leftist, who are educated in big shot foreign universities who then proclaim themselves as Liberal voices of the world. During the last chapters this exhibitionist “Lord brother” Owad talks about ideas and all, showing off his so-called intellect, in the process ridiculing Biswas, slapping Biswas’ son and showing superiority to others in presence of his cheerleader sisters, who loved each and every act of his. I for one felt like saying some colorful words every time I read some of his quotes, you can easily find such characters in every Indian family, whom you feel repulsed from, the over pretentious ones aka jackass.
Mr. Biswas also sets in motion the desire to get his children educated in England, the eldest daughter and son gets into the UK university. Eldest daughter comes back and helps Mr.Biswas financially when his health is crumbling and he is let go from Sentinel , the newspaper he works for. He is also able to get a new house, which he renovates after being duped to buy it. Not to mention in the process fending off the first owner/ builder from his veranda.
The book was all in all an Indian family drama, recommended for patient readers only. It took a while for me to get it completed though. Since, I got frustrated reading about some ‘real’ life characters and had other commitments too. Looking forward to read more Naipaul’s works, this time I think I will go for Non-fiction books, the Indian Trilogy which he wrote.
There are some very nice Mahabharat quotes, which I would like to share with the reader.
From the first book Adi Parva :
Anukramanika Parva, Chapter 1:
Time creates all things,
and time destroys them all.
Time burns all creatures,
and time again extinguishes that fire.
—Anukramanika Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.1
Tapa is not a sin,
Study is not a sin,
Ordinances of Vedas are not sins,
Acquisition of wealth by exertion is not a sin,
When they are abused, then do they become the sources of evil.
—Anukramanika Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.1
Sangraha Parva, Chapter 2:
As all the senses are dependent on the wonderful workings of the mind,
so all the acts and moral qualities depend on this treatise (Mahabharata).
—Sangraha Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.2
Paushya Parva, Chapter 3:
You are the infinite, you are the course of Nature and intelligent soul that pervades all,
I desire to obtain you through knowledge, derived from hearing and meditation.
—Paushya Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.3
Adivansabatarana Parva, Chapter 62:
This (Mahabharata) is equal to the Vedas, it is holy and excellent,
it is the worthiest of all that should be listened to. It is a Purana, adored by the Rishis,
It contains many useful instructions on Artha and Kama. This sacred history makes the heart desire to attain salvation.
—Adivansabatarana Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.
Drupada said to Drona: Friendship never remains in the world in anyone’s heart without being worn out,
Time wears it out, anger destroys it.
The poor cannot be the friend of the rich, the unlearned cannot be the friend of the learned,
the coward cannot be the friend of the brave, how then do you desire the continuance of our old friendship?
—Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.
One who is afflicted by destiny can find a remedy in destiny alone.”
— [Elapatra to Vasuki, Astika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 34]
This single strand of grass that you see, the one from which we are hanging, is the strand of our family lineage. O Brahmana! The strands that you see being eaten up, are being eaten up by time. O Brahmana! The half-eaten root from which we are all hanging is the last of our lineage, practising austerities. O Brahmana! The rat that you see is time, immensely powerful. He is slowly killing the misguided Jaratkaru, engaged in austerities, who is greedy for austerities, but has lost his mind and senses.”
— [Ancestors to Jaratkaru, Astika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 41]
“According to the sacred texts, there are three kinds of fathers. In proper order, they are the one who gives a body, the one who protects and the one who provides food.
— [Shakuntala describing to King Duhshanta what Sage Kanwa told her about her birth. Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 66]
“The wise have said that a man is himself born as his son. Therefore, a man should regard the mother of his son as his own mother. … The wife is the sacred ground in which the husband is born again. Even sages are unable to have offspring without wives.”
—[Shakuntala to Duhshanta, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 68]
“You see the faults of others, even though they are as small as a mustard seed. But you do not see your own, even though they can be seen as large as a bilva fruit. … O Duhshanta! My birth is nobler than your own. O lord of kings! You are established on earth. But I roam the sky. Know that the difference between you and me is that between a mustard seed and Mount Meru.”
— [Shakuntala to King Duhshanta, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 69]
“I also know the difference between anger and forgiveness and the strength and weakness of each. But when a disciple behaves disrespectfully towards a preceptor, it should not be condoned.”
— [Devayani to Shukra, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 74]
“Altercations are nothing but the resort of the weak.”
— [Karna to Arjuna, Jatugriha-daha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 126]
“Unlike a cow, the fruits of evil actions are not immediate. Such fruits are certainly manifested, if not in one’s own life, in one’s son or in one’s grandson. They are like a heavy meal in the stomach.”
— [Shukra to King Vrishaparva, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 75]
“Great is unhappiness for those who desire wealth, greater for those who have acquired it.”
— [Brahamana lamenting, Baka-vadha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 145]
“One who does not see impurities in one’s acts, is not expected to see it in another.”
— [Upajaya to Drupada, Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 155]
“But if a crime doesn’t find a punisher, many in the world will commit crimes. A man who has the power to punish a crime and doesn’t do so, despite knowing that a crime has been committed, is himself tainted by the deed, even if he is the lord.”
— [Ourva to ancestors,Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 171]‘
“Which hero will kill an enemy who has been defeated in battle, has lost his fame and is now protected by a woman?”
— [Yudhishtra to Arjuna,Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 158]
“He was a king who had no abilities. All that he did was breathe air in and out.”
— [Karna on King Amuvicha, Viduragamana Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 196]
I shall collect more quotes which I find interesting in time coming and post on my Blog. Though I would like to mention here that Abhinav Agarwal‘s blog was a great help. The guy is an inspiration for his writings on Mahabharat. I hope my blog is also someday overflowing with Information on Mahabharat like his, he has made a detailed study of all the Parvas (i.e. Volumes) in Mahabharat.
Bhima is a character which in true sense epitomizes an Alpha male. He is dominant and fierce. He was second Pandu brother among the five non Biological sons of Pandu.
His actions and presence was very significant in the rise of Yudhistra to the throne on Indraprastha and later in the war of kurukshetra. He was mainly responsible for killing of 100 Kauravas brother and finally Duryodhan death (in which he employed unethical means).
He possessed the power of 100 elephants inside him, though which was a blessing given to him in childhood. He was also a very heavy eater who ate more than the amount of food which other four Pandav brothers could eat collectively.
His birth was like his other brother out of a wedlock ceremony in which Kunti was impregnated by Lord of Wind (Vayu/Aeolus) much like Indra did in the case of Arjun, Yama/Hades in case of Yudhistra and Sun/Apollo in case of Karna. The reason being Pandu was cursed that he would die moment he has sexual relation with any of this two wives.
Personality and Teachings
The teacher of Bhim was Dronacharya much like all the other Pandavas and Kauravas. He learnt the various Warcraft but his favorite weapon was a hammer or a club made of a heavy metal. His fights were frequent that too with Duryodhan who also liked same weapon. He can also be termed as a bully who loved to throw his weight around, especially on Kauravas brother. It was his repeated humiliation of Duryodhan which became a flash point of immense hatred towards Pandavas and Kuravas and visa-verse.
Though Duryodhan played his part by scheming and plotting against him and his Pandav brothers.
Due to heavy appetite he was name Vrikodara, `wolf’s belly.’ Apart from having feud with Duryodhan, he was in a habit of humiliating Karna at will. His actions increased Karna‘s anger towards Pandavas.
The Palace of the Pandava Brothers set ablaze
Duryodhan with his counselor Purochana hatched a plan to burn the Pandavas alive at a lake palace lakshagraha at Varnavrata that Duryodhan had built.
Vidura provided information to Pandavs of plan and helped them escape out from the palace. Here Bhima played a major role in carrying all five of them (Kunti and brothers) and escaping to safety. He barricaded the palace of Purochana and set fire to it, killing Purochana.
Killing of Hidmb,Marriage and children
During this period, he also chanced upon the demon princess Hidimba whom he married, after killing the demon king Hidmb. Ghatotkacha was the son born to the two of them.
Hidmb was a man-eater demon who wanted to kill and eat all of the Pandavas but Bhima is able to challange him and kill him. After that he becomes king of Hidmb’s small tribe.
At a later stage, Bhima also married Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, and had a son named Sarvaga. Among Bhima’s three sons, Sarvaga did not participate in the Kurukshetra war, while the two others died in the battle.
Kunti and the Pandavas decided to stay anonymously for a while, during this time the Kauravas thought they were dead in the fire.
During this time, the Pandavas attended the Swayamvara of Drupada princess, Draupadi. The Pandavas, led by Arjuna, were successful at the Swayamvara. With his brothers, he was married to Draupadi, who gave birth to a son, Sutasoma.
The game of Dice:
After Yudhisthira succumbed to Shakuni’s challenge in the game of dice, the Pandavas were forced into exile for 13 years, one of which was in anonymity. The exile period in the forests, saw the Pandavas come face to face with many rakshasas and asuras and Bhima played a crucial role in the epic in rescuing his brothers every time.
In the beginning of the exile, in the woods of Kamyaka, the Pandavas meet the demon Kirmira, the brother of Bakasura and a friend of Hidimba. A fierce battle ensued between Bhima and the demon, where the two equally matched fighters hurled rocks and trees at each other. Eventually Bhima emerged victorious.
Searching for Saugandhika flower
Once in Badarikasrama forest, Draupadi scented the Saugandhika flower and was deeply attracted to it. The lotus species was not to be located easily. Bhima went in search of the flower and ended up at Kubera’s palace. He was stopped in his tracks by the demon called Krodhavasas, but he defeated them all and reached the lotus pond.
He also killed Maniman a wicked demon , who had in the past, incurred a curse from Rishi Agastya by spitting on his head. Bhima fell asleep on its shore. Later the Pandavas arrived with Krishna and Draupadi in search of Bhima. They met Kubera who offered them baskets of Saugandhika lotuses and sent them on their way.
Kubera was especially happy, as the slaughter of Maniman had relieved him of the curse too. It was also during this search that Bhima met Hanuman (his brother, as both were Vayu’s children) in the forest and sought his blessings.
In another minor incident in the epic, Jatasura, a rakshasa disguised as a Brahmin abducted Yudhisthira, Draupadi and the twin brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva during their stay at Badarikasrama. His objective was to seize the weapons of the Pandavas and to ravish Draupadi. Bhima, who was hunting during the abduction, was deeply upset when he came to know of Jatasura’s evil act on his return. A fierce encounter followed between the two gigantic warriors, where Bhima emerged victorious by decapitating Jatasura and crushing his body.
Humiliation of Jayadratha
In another event in the Kamyaka forests, Jayadratha, a Sindhu King, abducted Draupadi when the Pandavas were away. On returning, the Pandavas learnt about this from Sage Dhaumya, followed and reached Jayadratha’s army in the forest. Jayadratha was no match to the strength of Bhima, who humiliated him by shaving his head and leaving him with just five patches of hair. Jayadratha later played a major role in the Kurukshetra War in slaying Abhimanyu.
Cook at Virata’s kingdom
Along with his brothers, Bhima spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. He disguised himself as a cook named Vallabh (within themselves Pandavas called him Jayanta).
Once during a great festival, people from neighbouring countries had come to the kingdom of Virata. There was a wrestling bout where a wrestler from a different state, Jimuta proved to be invincible. Much to the delight of King Virata and his subjects, Bhima challenged Jimuta and knocked him out in no time. This greatly enhanced the reputation of the Pandavas in an unfamiliar territory.
Death of Kichaka
Kichaka, the army commander of Virata, tried to sexually assault Draupadi, who was under the guise of a maid named Sairindhri. Bhima dressed himself as a woman and lay in wait for Kichaka inside Draupadi’s room. He slew him the moment he tried to touch him. Kickaka was crushed and slaughtered in to a meat ball by bhima .
Susarma of the Trigarta Kingdom, under the command of Duryodana, waged a battle against Virata by stealing the cows in his kingdom. Bhima, aided in part by the other Pandavas and Virata, helped to defeat the army of Susarma easily. By this time, the 13-year exile period was completed and the rivalry between the siblings was renewed.
Bhima and Arjun
It would be apt to say that Arjun and Bhima were two people on whose ability Indraprastha was built and protected, so that their righteous brother Yudhistra could rule.
Both of them are also responsible for killing of many demons and enemies in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. However, in terms of judgment Arjun can be said to have an upper edge, not to mention the fact that Arjun was favorite of Lord Krishna.
Bhima On management
Bhima is in no way a thinker or a policy creator, he is policy enforcer. He would be someone provided with the task to enforce the rules and to get the job done. Some like the operations manager whose job is to meet the defined targets set out by the Chairman or CEO of an organization.
Bhima in Today’s world
Bhima in today’s world would be easily identified; he is someone with a good physical strength and at the same time can be a bully but loves his family. A perfect alpha male out to ravage, kill and tear apart anyone who violates his honour or targets his family. Though someone certainly not with a good judgement.
He was the eldest son of Pandav and Kunti and the Kings of Pandavas. He was someone with an impeccable Judgment and one who spoke the truth. In the War of Mahabharat broke out because there was claim for kingdom which was rejected by his arrogant cousin Duryodhan.
Yudhistra in true terms can be classified as a generous and noble king but he would not be able to win anything on his own, here the support of his brothers was a crucial point. Yudhistra was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors, Kripa and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the spear
Yudhistra was beta male who lived in the shadows of Alpha male brothers like Bhīma and Arjun. He would be rated equivalent to Nakul and Sehdev in Warfare, whom many writers consider as incompetent sidekicks. He is a good man and someone who should rule but foolish and sometimes lets ego get better of him (which is certainly not a good characteristic of a man with good judgment), the biggest example was his gambling in which he lost everything even himself.
Birth of Yudhistra is conceding with the fact that Pandu his adoptive father is cursed that he would die if he has sex with anyone which includes his two wife because he killed a sage and his wife.
He had asked Kunti to call gods to impregnate her and the first god she invokes with her mantra is Yama, god of death and Judgment, interestingly many folk tales mention that Yama is god of Sun much like Manu (The one who wrote scriptures for Ancient Indian and made Brahmins at top of ladder, amusing and laughable, as such thoughts are written by priests to make them higher up and then exploit masses).
After he was born he was named Yudhistra, he had other names too, namely Ajatshatru (the one with no enemies).
Teachings and Personality
There is a story in Mahabharat in which when Drona Kuravas and Pandavas teacher was teaching a lesson to the about Truth.
Another where he and his brothers were sent off to 13 year exile, they went to a lake one by one and did not return after which Yudhistra went looking for them.
However, His personality is not as perfect as many would like it to be or what some ‘scholars’ like to projects as. If he is a good king with better judgment, the question comes why would such a man bet his wife ? (here Let me point out that I do not sympathies with the character of highly egoistic Draupadi )
Why would such a man gamble on the first place, is his ego getting better of him?
However, Yudhisthira’s true personality is was shown in his unflinching adherence to truth and righteousness to fulfill one’s moral duty, which were more precious to him than royal ambitions, material pursuits and family relations.
He rescued Bhima from Nahusha. He also rescued his four brothers from Yaksha by exemplifying not only his immense knowledge of Dharma, but also understanding its finer implications.
His understanding of Dharma was distinct from other kings. He had Bhima marry an outcast Rakshasi, he denounced casteism, saying a Brahmin is known by his actions and not his birth or education, thus portraying a changeable Dharma that modifies itself to suit the times.
Due to his piety, Yudhisthira’s chariot did not touch the ground (until his deception of Drona), to symbolize his purity. This means he was well regarded as a wise and pious man even by his enemies.
One day while living in exile in the forest, Yudhisthira finds that while attempting to drink water from a lake, all his brothers have been killed by a mysterious Yaksha (a celestial entity). When Yudhisthira arrives, the Yaksha challenges him to answer all his questions or else face the same consequences as his brothers. These questions-answers are like Vedic sutras, short, pithy and practical, and deal with piety and religiosity.
Yudhisthira and Yaksha
In order to save his brothers Yudhistra gave answers to Yaksha’s questions.
Yaksha:: Who is really a helpful companion ?
Yudhisthira: Steady intelligence is a very good friend, and can save one from all dangers.
Yaksha: How can one acquire something very great ?
Yudhisthira: Everything desirable can be attained by the performance of austerity.
Yaksha: What is amrita (nectar) ?
Yudhisthira: Milk is just like nectar.
Yaksha: What is the friend bestowed upon man by the demigods ?
Yudhisthira: Wife is such a friend.
Yaksha: What is the best of happiness ?
Yudhisthira: True happiness comes as a result of contentment.
Yaksha: Why does one give in charity to brahmanas, artists, servants and kings ?
Yudhisthira: For religious merit, prestige, maintenance and protection, respectively.
Yaksha: Why does one forsake friends ?
Yudhisthira: Lust and greed drives one to forsake friends.
Yaksha: What is the only food ?
Yudhisthira: The cow is the only food, for the milk that she produces is used to make ghee (clarified butter), which is used to perform sacrifices, pleased by which the demigods give rain, which causes the grains to grow. Therefore it should be understood that the cow is the root cause of all kinds of food.
Yaksha: What is the king of knowledge ?
Yudhisthira: Knowledge pertaining to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the king of all kinds of knowledge.
Yaksha: What is ignorance ?
Yudhisthira: Not knowing one’s constitutional duty.
Yaksha: What is the best bath ?
Yudhisthira: That which cleanses the mind of all impurities.
Yaksha: What is real charity ?
Yudhisthira: Real charity is protecting one from the onslaughts of material nature.
Yaksha: Since dharma (virtue), artha (profit) and kama (desire) are opposed to each other, how can they co-exist harmoniously ?
Yudhisthira: These three become congenial to one another when one has a virtuous wife.
Yaksha: Who is condemned to everlasting hell ?
Yudhisthira: When one promises a brahmana charity, but upon his arrival refuses to give him charity.
Yaksha: What make one a brahmana, birth, learning or behavior ?
Yudhisthira: It is behavior alone that make a person a brahmana. Even one who is expert in the four Vedas, born of brahmana parents, but whose behavior is not proper, should be considered a sudra.
Yaksha: Who is pleasing ?
Yudhisthira: A person who speaks in a pleasing manner.
Finally the Yaksha asked Yudhisthira four questions of great significance:
Yaksha: Who is truly happy ?
Yudhisthira: One who cooks his own food (is not dependent on anyone), is not a debtor (does not spend more than he can afford), does not have to leave home to make in order to earn his livelihood (does not over endeavor for material things) is truly happy.
Yaksha: What is the most wonderful thing ?
Yudhisthira: The most amazing thing is that even though every day one sees countless living entities dying, he still acts and thinks as if he will live forever.
Yaksha: What is the real path to follow in this life?
Yudhisthira: The best path is to follow in the footsteps of the pure devotees, for they are the actual Mahajanas whose hearts are the sitting places of the real truths regarding religion.
Yaksha: What is news? (that is What is real situation in the material world ?)
Yudhisthira: The material world is like a frying pan. The Sun is the fire, the day and nights are the fuel. The passing seasons are the stirring ladle, and time is the cook. All living entities are being thus fried in this pan. This is the real news of what is happening in the material world, which is a miserable place full of ignorance.
These questions and answers cover a wide gamut of instructions from being successful to pious to religious. Pleased by the answers of Yudhisthira, the Yaksha who was none other than Dharmaraja/ Yama/ Hades (the father of Yudhisthira and the embodiment of religiosity) revives all the brothers of Yudhisthira and offers him many benedictions.
There is a story which is told after Mahabharata was finished about when all five brothers and their common wife Draupadi walk together to a mountain before their end.
Yudhistra On management
He is a leader who gives value to Judgement and righteousness, if he has able commanders working under him like Yudhistra had it in the case of his brothers. Then he can become a near perfect leader.
He would be fair in terms of decision making but at the same time will have human failings. His personality would help him create and recreate organizations which would then run on the principles of Truth, thereby creating credibility.
Yudhistra in today’s world:
He is someone who would be an idealist like Bhishma but not Bhishma in every sense, particularly warfare.
I happened to come across the post of Devdutt Pattanaik and as usual the man did not disappoint with his lines. In these lines he explains the dilemma of present day people. The desire for Perfection. It may well stand for parents who all want their sons and daughters to be engineers or doctors (most importantly from IIT, AIIMS, Harvard, Stanford , Oxford or Cambridge not that I hold anything against those who are already in there). Then the leftist utopians who want society perfect in their opinion and so with the Ultra-right wings who want society as per their choice and with their interpretation of perfection (in India’s case to determine who is higher and who is lower by birth , a viewpoint which Hindutva propagating elitist Brahmins do have (RSS ones to be specific has loads of them) and neither far behind are Jihadist/Ultra Right Islamist/ Wahhabis /Salafist who want their interpretation on world for everything, same holds true for Ultra right Christians (belonging to various thoughts of schools which includes Roman Catholics, Methodist, Protestants etc) and Ultra-right Jews)
This quest for “perfection” and every individuals own interpretation is without doubt a cause of conflict, however it does not mean that so called “imperfection‘ should be forced down the throat of others who disagree.
Let us ponder over it, for example some parents will let their child go through emotional and psychological roller coaster so that child may reach their interpreted perfect state (sometimes such quest is also termed as Child Abuse) .
A girlfriend/ boyfriend would “test” their counter parts to an extent that their relationship breaks (Cause of an abusive relationship). We desire ideal teachers even though we might know the he/she might have prejudice against us owing to color, caste and religion ( reminds me of battles of Karna and Eklavya in Mahabharat).
Mothers who would make child’s life miserable in order to make her daughter a perfect girl ( someone with things which she was not able to posses or achievements she was not able to get and then finally get this daughter of her a ‘perfect‘ match) or the son whom she wishes to convert into her interpretation of a perfect man, when she feels let down by all other men in her life including her brothers and father. The craving for that self made idealism or perfection would make her go to any extent. The most important point here being that this state of perfection is her self made or thrust upon her by some vindictive souls (a complexity of today’s world).
I may not be wrong in my observation that intolerance breeds from not willing to accept diversity, not willing to accept that if she has three sons, all three will be different. Someone might like a Nike shoe, someone an Adidas one and someone a Jordan shoe. Will her belief in a particular brand (say Nike) make her other two sons imperfect in her view point and if so, should it ?
Then again, my words above can be interpreted by my naysayers as my desire for a ‘perfect’ mother.
Talking about the concept of ‘perfect Husband‘, females usually identify such when they start comparing their spouses with their successful fathers, brothers or her sister’s husbands (in short brother-in-laws). This idea of perfection only goes till those beings with which she has close contact (thereby making her obliviate of the fact of other interpretations of perfection). Usually it is also effected by how much easier her life the person in question has made which is fueling the cause of comparison that she makes with respect to her “not so perfect” husband. This desire however does causes her misery. Something which Devdutt Pattanaik mentions in above lines.
The perfect wife, well I guess for this many can be accused including the so called role models. Every individuals interpretation of a perfect wife varies from the physical looks:
- Is she like Sharapova (The Tennis superstar)
- or like Gisele Bündchen (The German-Brazilian supermodel)
- or like Asli Tandogan (The Turkish actress)
- or like Candice Swanepoel (Victoria Secrets model)
- or like Diane Kruger (German actress, who played Helen in Troy)
- or like Nazanin Afshin-Jam ( The Iranian Beauty)
- or like Dilan Gwyn
- or like María Valverde (The Spanish Actress)
- or like Laetitia Casta (The french beauty)
- or like Eva Green ( The french actress )
- or like Nathalia Ramos (The Spanish Actress)
- or like katherine webb ( Sweet Home Alabama, baby)
- or like Kristin Kreuk ( The Canadian Actress)
- or like Rachel Hurd-Wood ( The British Actress)
- or like Saoirse Ronan (The Irish Actress)
- or like Yelena Isinbayeva (the Russian Olympic gold medallist )
most importantly what is her eye color: Blue, grey, green, Brown , Black or each eye has different color. Her hair color also matters: Red, black, blonde, brown, white, does she color her hair often like purple or green”
to her habits :
Is she cleanliness oriented, does she rides bikes, does she climbs mountains, does she plays extreme sports, is she feminine stay at home type, Is she a late riser, does she eat non-veg, does she wears traditional clothes or revealing ones ,does she uses colorful abuses :) , does she smokes and drinks, most importantly does she NOT nagg ?
to possessing skill sets:
notably is she like Nigella Lawson while baking, can she help in her man’s work, help with presentations and all, Can she manage the finances, does she poses motherly qualities,Is she knowledgeable, fields of qualification…. ?
to her money:
Is she rich even though she might be not so good looking and pain in the ass and whose money is that her Daddy’s or her own ?
to her education:
MIT,Yale, Princeton, Columbia,Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Cornell, UCLA,AIIMS, John Hopkins, IIT, blah blah blah…… but for some no education and hot figure does wonder just like a white paper, you can write whatever you want without questions asked.
Finally who is her DADDY (it makes men decide whether their life will be miserable one or a pleasant one if they end up accidentally with her :D)
Now coming to those who govern the nation the Bureaucrats and Politicians. For latter part I would refrain to comment because it is a waste of time but for former it needs to be understood that any system can never be perfect. No matter how automatic your response gets still that ‘perfect‘ Bureaucrat will never be there. Even for that matter the interpretations of perfections would keep on changing or evolving. Example the profit margins, idea of success, the time Bureaucrat needs to devote to Public (that risks him/her being ‘imperfect’ husbands or wives). The idea of economic success on which he/she works. No doubt there are certain principles which needs to be followed but interpretation of the actions vary. Example an uptight one might be loathed for not being flexible, a flexible will be loathed for not being uptight, a reformist will be loathed for sidelining traditionalist and a traditionalist one will be loathed for not being a reformist. Left, center and right wing ideas do play a part here but then each one is perfect in their own ways for those who follow them.
Coming to starting remark made by Devdutt Pattanaik, I have read enough to understand that in Indian Mythologies two characters are most important Krishna and Ram, I would like to believe that none were perfect (though it might seems that I am doing it to justify my own imperfection and Ultra-right wing might not accept this view point). I ask when such imperfection lie among ‘gods’ then why should a MORTAL man be forced to be a symbol of perfection ?
No wonder Anti Hero’s of today are a rage as none are perfect ones but full of flaws, few I would like to mention who I like:
- Danny Archer in Blood Diamond (played By Leonardo Di Caprio )
- Michael Corleone in Godfather (Played by Al Pacino)
- Batman in Batman series by Christopher Nolan (Played by Christian Bale)
- Xander Cage in xXx (Played by Vin Diesel)
- Sherlock Holmes (played by Robert Downey Jr)
- John Rambo (Played by Stallone)
- Captain Jack Sparrow (Played by Johnny Depp )
- Don Draper in Mad Men (Played by Jon Hamm)
- Nicholas Brody in Homeland (Played by Damain Lewis)
- The ‘Great’ Hank Moody in Californification (Played by David Duchovny, Mathaaa Fackkaa)
- Dexter Morgan in Dexter (Played by Michael C Hall )
- Michael Scofield in Prison break (played by Wentworth Miller)
- Tony Soprano in Sopranos (Played by James Gandolfini)
- Spartacus in Spartacus series (Played by Andy Whitfield and Liam McIntyre)
- Gannicus in Spartacus series (Played by Dustin Clare )
- Hawkeye/Nathaniel Poe in Last of the Mohicans (Played by Daniel Day Lewis )
- Richard Riddick in Chronicles of Riddick (Played by Vin Diesel)
- Captain Nathan Algren of The Last Samurai (Played by Tom Cruise)
- Cameron Poe of ConAir (Played by Nicholas Cage )
- Dominic Toretto in Fast and Furious series (Played by Vin Diesel)
- Yuri Orlov in Lord of War (Played by Nicholas Cage)
- Achilles in Troy (Played by Brad Pitt)
In short there is more to life than being just ‘PERFECT‘ !
And an orator said, “Speak to us of Freedom.”
And he answered:
At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,
Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.
Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.
And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.
You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.
And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour ?
In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.
And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free? If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.
You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.
And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.
For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their won pride? And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.
And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared. Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.
These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.
When the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.
I write about Arjun exactly after a year, I wrote about Karna. I can honestly say that many individual’s response against Karna put me off to write about Arjun. Arjun was someone who was born into privileges and had things easy compared to karna plus he had the blessing of Krishna, but these things should not be interpreted as the reason for correctness of so called greatness.
The story of Arjun again cannot start or end without addressing curse on Pandu. Although, Arjun was known as Pandava but he was not the son of Pandu in biological terms. Pandu was cursed by a sage that he will die moment he tries to have sexual relations with any woman who included his wives.
This curse was owing to the fact that Pandu had killed the sage and his wife while they were have intercourse mistaking them for a deer (I still cannot believe, how did THAT happen, it was hell of a mistake, though it has been documented that the sage had transformed himself as a deer and so did his wife, additionally they were doing their mating stuff when Pandu shot them)
The curse was:
“What you have done is a heinous act which does not suit a king. Even the worst of humankind would not have killed a mating pair of animals. I am Rishi Kindam and I usually roam the forests like a deer. You have killed me without any reason. You will not be blamed for killing a Brahmin as you did not know that I was one, but you killed me when I was with my wife, so I curse you that whenever you make love with your wife you will die immediately.”
So Pandu now unable to give birth to sons or daughter (now we don’t need to be all chauvinistic here) let go of his kingly duties and left for forest along with his two young wives. The desire for a son was so huge for Pandu that he asked Kunti about the “gift” she can demand of any god and the gift was a son. The ancient text or should I say some priests give a very naïve interpretation of Mahabarat and the birth of these three sons plus Karna (as though they just landed up in her arms and she caught them just like you catch a cricket ball, yeah right).
Kunti gave birth to 4 sons by 4 different gods, 3 were known as Pandavas after Pandu and that last son she gave birth to was by god Indra or sometimes referred to as Zeus by the Greek mythology ( India and Greece has a lot of shit in common) .
There is a word for such process , it is called niyoga an alternate to it would be something like artificial insemination, however in the case of niyoga there is proper intercourse between second man and the wife of the man who is impotent, so that the woman can get impregnated and bear child, a practice employed in ancient India. (One can bet that the husband’s ego would be all but destroyed in this process, giving your wife to someone else so that he could impregnate her, not to mention enjoy her innumerable times in the meantime, authors have written that Kunti had seen the feeling of ecstasy in the face of her lovers, similar to the one she saw on Pandu’s face when he died after having sex with his second wife because of the curse . I however feel that the fem-nazi of the world would be ecstatic of the situation an act which allows them to humiliate a man, there by propagating their view point of woman emancipation and empowerment, fascinating stuff.)
Some authors also quote this as the reason for Pandu’s frustration.
Arjun’ s name and teachings
Mahabharat states that god’s sang when Arjun was born, this was owing to the fact that he was Indra’s son (Commander of gods like Zeus). He was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru and Dronacharya (who considered Arjun to be his best student).
Arjun also was called by many names:
- Arjuna – one of taintless fame and glow like silver (Argentum)
- Phalguna – one born on the star of Phalguna
- Jishnu – conqueror of enemies
- Kiriti – one who wears the celestial diadem, Kiriti, presented by Indra
- Swetavahana – one with white horses mounted to his chariot
- Bibhatsu – one who always fights wars in a fair manner
- Vijaya – victorious warrior
- Parth or Partha – Son of Pritha or Kunti. Incidentally his father is the Lord of Heavens, Indra.
- Savyasachi – Skillful in using both arms, ambidextrous.
- Dhananjaya – one who conquers bows (dhanu) referring to his skills as an archer.
- Gudakesa – One who had thick hair; gudha: dense and kesha: hair.
- Kapi Dhwaj – Having flag of Kapi (Monkey) in his chariot. (Arjuna’s flag displayed an image of Hanuman from a previous encounter)
- Parantap – one who concentrates the most, destroyer of enemies from his concentration
Arjun and Krishna
Krishna’s role in Arjun’s life is of great importance and in my view far greater than Dronacharya’s presence. Dronacharya was no doubt Arjun’s teacher who taught him warfare and made him a great archer. It was however, Krishna’s presence which saves Arjun many times and the knowledge of philosophy which Krishna provides to Arjun is in today’s era known as Bhagavad Gita, something which is of great importance to the South-Asian culture (not necessary to a term Hindu, on which I shall write).
Krishna’s connection to Arjun is also with the marriage alliance in which Krishna’s half-sister Subhadhra was married to Arjun, it is said that Krishna encourage the match of Subhadhra and Arjun. Through this union was born Abhimanyu (I must admit here that for longtime; I thought Abhimanyu was son of Draupadi, thank god he wasn’t, I donot like the character of Draupadi much owing to her egoistic behavior).
Krishna was however the reason for Arjun to marry Draupadi and reject Karna.
Krishna also plays major role in trying to get the rights of Pandavas, which led him to conflict with Duryodhan. During the battle of Kurushetra, Krishna eggs Arjun to kill Karna owing to the fact that Karna was responsible for Arjun’s son’s death and Draupadi’s humiliation. Even though Krishna knew about the fact that there were many players in that scenario.
Arjun’ story has another major character without mentioning whom Arjun’s life will not be complete. She is Draupadi. The wife of all 5 Pandavas, but there is a story behind it too. In Draupadi’s “Swayam Varam” where a woman is allowed to choose her husband, Arjun along with his brother went there dressed as Brahmin. Duryodhan had come there along with Karna. In that marriage ceremony as task was required to be done, that is to pierce the eye of a fish with arrow. When Karna went to pick up the bow for the task, Draupadi insulted Karna by calling him son of a charioteer who dared thought of marrying a princess. Her exact words were “A man who live off a king’s goodwill, how can he protect my honour.” Krishna also played a spoilsport here by instigating Draupadi. At that very moment Duryodhan appoints Karna as the king of Anga.
Anyhow, after Karna was so called “debarred” by that egoistic Draupadi. Now enters Arjun, disguised as Brahmin. Naturally he shoots well and wins. Here, it is tried to be said that he is Brahmin and his entry should be invalid, but again Krishna comes to rescue with his sweet talk.
Arjun then takes Draupadi to his home in order to show his new bride to his mother. He asks his mother to come out, so that he can show her what he has brought for her. His mother Kunti (full of accidental errors, read Karna) does another blunder by saying that “whatever you have got share it with your brothers”. Whether, that was to the horror or to the delight of Draupadi, I leave that thought to the choice of the reader. Reader may also question that it was just an accidental error, why did they go ahead with it. Well, they were living a life that time in which whatever you say needs to be done, so kunti’s accidental error needed to be followed. However, Yudhistra (the wise one) could have prevented it by his sweet talk and understanding but I guess his desire lied elsewhere.
So now Draupadi won by Arjun became Panchali, the one with five husbands.
Arjun is also married to Ulupi ( naga princess) and Chitrangadaa (Princess of Manipur). Both the sons by the respective princess were left with their mothers.
Exile and Curse of Urvashi
The pandav were exiled after being humiliated for failing the game of dice in which they lost everything, their kingdoms and got their wife stripped (very honorable conduct). During exile they were cursed in the way that for year they have live in anonymity and if they were found somehow, they will have to begin their 13 year exile again. So not only they had to go on exile, the Pandavas were left with the game of hide and seek with kauravas who were in a hurry to find them and repose longer exile terms.
During these 13 years for one year Arjun was forced to live like an eunuch owing to the curse of Urvashi (the hot as hell cheerleader of Lord Indra a.k.a Zeus, if you wish to imagine her beauty then go for the hottest female you have ever seen in your life and now raise it to the power of 10, it is a mathematical thing).
Now imagine that this female whom everyone in the world is dying to mate with, Arjun in his righteousness shuns her advance. Question is what she will do now ? It would be usual what a hot as a hell furious woman would do, BURN the house down. She sent Arjun straight to her interpretation of hell, which is impotency for one year.
This was during the time when Arjun was invited to the kingdom of his father in heaven and he was staying there for some time after he was rewarded with various weapons by many gods.
It is during this year that he taught in Place of King of Virata to his daughter Uttra. Once the curse was complete the king wanted Uttra to be married to Arjun, but Arjun stated that as he has been her teacher it would not be right in the duty of Dharma, to which the king was displeased. In this situation Arjun offered a better solution of his son by Subhadhra (half sister of Krishna ) to be married to Uttra. This proposal was readily accepted by the King. Abhimanyu was married to Uttra when both were 14-15 years old (child marriage).
Kurushetra war and Bhagavad Gita:
In this war Arjun was responsible for death of Bhishma, Karna and Jayadratha. The last one he held responsible of killing Abhimanyu.
Before the war began, Arjun was full of doubts of fighting his own brothers and teachers. To resolve this issue, Krishna came into picture in which he gave Arjun the knowledge of Dharma in which he told Arjun it was necessary for him to fight his cousins, grandfather and Teachers for greater good because all of them have forgotten true Dharma. Particularly they are supporting Duryodhan who is just after Pandavas due to ego of childhood, motivated by his evil maternal Uncle shakuni. Krishna also informs Arjun that where were these elders when your wife was being stripped, when your property was being taken away and when you were being humiliated by them.
In order to bring balance back to world, Arjun needs to fight them and kill them if needed, which included his beloved Great Grandfather Bhishma. He informs Arjun that it is his duty/ dharma to fight as he was a warrior.
In the war Arjun uses Shikhandi to kill Bhisma who was the reincarnation of princess Amba to whom Bhisma had refused marriage and she had set herself on fire. He kills Karna when Karna is armless (and riddled with curses of his life).
Arjun On management
Now this one is very interesting, Arjun is nothing without his two teachers Drona and Krishna. No doubt he had a potential since he was a child. It was however this potential which was harnessed by both of his teachers. Many authors write that Arjun was of clean image, well it is their interpretation. Success of Arjun on management is someone who looks up to his/her teachers in their daily duty and asks for their advice, even if that advice pitches him/her against his family. In short who fights for Dharma or righteousness under the guidance of a mentor.
Arjun in Today’s world
Arjun is someone born in prosperity and is gifted. The best analogy is a rich American kid, good in grades, goes to Ivy League University and then fights the so called “bad” world. In India too, it would be someone born in elite society and has all privileges but at the same time is intelligent too, unlike karna who was raised in poor family but was very intelligent.
PS: There was one anime movie also which came on Arjun the warrior prince, which I believe was a good effort. But was no box office success. The creators could have created Mahabharat on the line of Harry potter or Lord of The ring series in which there were 8 and 4 grand movies respectively.
Aise na dekh apne mehboob ko e sahil,
ye jan-nisaar nigahen kahein, kar na de tujhe Fana .
Mehboob hi jannat, mehboob hi shuraat,
mehboob hi ibadat, mehboob hi daulat,
mehboob pehchan, mehboob ab mera imaan,
karde, karde, karde-e- maula, bahaar-e-ishq, karde mujhe fana. —— Diwane-e-sahil
Translation to english :
Donot watch your beloved in such a loving way o dear sahil,
these beautiful eyes will lead to your annihilation.
My beloved is my heaven, my beloved is my success,
my beloved is my prayer, my beloved is my wealth,
beloved is my identity, my beloved is now my faith,
do it, do it, do it my lord, in this spring of love ,go ahead destroy me. —— Diwane-e-sahil
I am sure every writer goes through this. It is like you are unable to write or in my case do not have the mood to write. During this time every writer has varying thoughts as to the list of the things that he/she would write about. In my case, these are the things which I have mentioned that I will write and somethings(or topics) which come to my mind while traveling,walking or even observing people. Writing as we know is an art of expressing what you think, what you believe and what you want to convey.
When that communication aspect stops, even though the writer’s mind might be full of thoughts he/she wishes to express but is someway unable to express. This in my view is the writer’s block. Dictionary provides us with the definition that
A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.
I have even read that it is the inability to get inspired, possibly that might be true for some people. I however can assure reader, I donot have such problem. Therefore, should I conclude that it is just plan laziness and too much dependance on the dopamine in my mind (some people have fixation for such things) ?
The writer’s job as such is to get inspired, read stuff and create something which inspires others, preferably the future generations.
Writers to take a note of :
- Leo Tolstoy (Morals guy)
- Rumi (Sufi)
- Mark Twain (A true teacher and an American literary great)
- J.K.Rowling (ain’t she a pretty one)
- Gabriel García Márquez (what ever books I have read of his I am impressed)
- Orhan Pamuk
- Ayn Rand (The one initiated the philosophy of Objectivism)
- Aristotle (Teacher of Alexander the Great)
- Charles Dickens
- Will Durant ( Civilizations all the way)
- Premchand (moral wielder)
- Jean-Paul Sartre
- Jack London
- Enid Blyton (Read alot of her books)
- Nikolai Gogol
- Maya Angelou
- Noam Chomsky
- VS Naipaul
- Emily Dickinson
- Homer (Inspirational stuff)
- Vyasa (Author of Mahabharat)
- Kabir (sufi)
- Bulleh Shah (sufi)
- Khan Abdul Ghani Khan (A pashtun nationalist)
- William Wordsworth (Born on 7 April 1770, awesome poet)
- Christopher Hitchens (electrifying)
- Bhagat Singh ( Some may contest him being mentioned a writer, he died young at 23 but whatever he wrote till that age is still inspirational stuff for a lot of people in south-Asia)
- Allama Iqbal ( A great poet respected in South-Asia)
- Faiz ahmed Faiz
- Khalil Gibran (American Lebanese writer, Prophet is awesome piece)
The above writers in their own ways have tried to make stories or poems which would inspire people, inculcate values in them, make then question things and norms. I however wonder how these men and women did when they went through writer’s block. I read that few writers just use to fill their pages with gibberish (even though those words might be full of spelling errors :) ) and some go into wild antics which can be termed plain crazy stuff. However when these guys bounce back they put in inspirational stuff, so is their NOT writing a part of writing good, a silence before the storm.
The best quote I found while thinking about it was by Charles Bukowski , who states
“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all” .
Though I found another one, very interesting but maybe not much appropriate for high-nose polished beings.
Stated by the great Hank Moody that when you are not able to write anything,just say
I have been thinking about writing on this topic ever since longtime, It was after the beheading of the India soldier of Rajputana Regiment by Pakistan Army in collusion with the Jihadist elements that made me relook at the scenario. The incident of January 8 in Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir, kind of brought the memories of Kargil war 1999. It was however reported that last year too, two Kumao regiment soldiers of Indian army were beheaded in same manner, but the news was subdued of their death or specifically of their beheading.
The situation of Kargil in 1999, a time when I just entered into my teens was not fully documented or reported, it was only on internet that I was able to find complete information about the scenario. A young 22 year old army captain Saurab Kali of 4 Jat regiment deployed on his first mission, fresh out of military academy along with his 4 other fellow soldiers were captured by Pakistani army and Jihadist elements in 1999 who had infiltrated into the India territory of Kargil, Kashmir to capture vital Land mass (their operation was much in lines with Indian operation in which Indian had captured siachen Glacier in 1984, this is the view that comes out from Pakistani media).
Torture and execution:
Anyhow, the torture he and his fellow soldiers went through was evident from the mutilation of bodies which were received. Captain Kalia and his men were in captivity for over twenty-two (May 15, 1999 – June 7, 1999) days, their bodies were handed over by Pakistan Army on June 9, 1999. The postmortem revealed that the Pakistan army had tortured them by burning their bodies with cigarettes, piercing ear-drums with hot rods, puncturing eyes before removing them, breaking most of the teeth and bones, fractures of the skull, cutting the lips, chipping of nose, chopping off limbs and private organs of these soldiers besides inflicting all sorts of physical and mental tortures and finally shooting them dead, as evidenced by the bullet wound to the temple. The postmortem report also confirmed that injuries were inflicted ante-mortem (before death).
When the same situation came again in Jan 2013, it just got me thinking. I wondered how could someone do such a dastardly act, the main question in my mind was “what motivates” such people.The guy who did that mutilation was a soldier of Pakistan army, but is yet to be identified. Certain section in India went gaga about what NOT to do in such situations which included an actor (a profiteer and an ideological whore, I presume you have to be later in order to be former) and few journalists with his ideological swinging. Most of the “self-proclaimed” liberal in both sides of the country always are found quoting that, we share same gene pool infact we are pretty much the same ethnic stock. Then why would one do such a thing?
Upon going through such thoughts and discussing with my fellow mates, the answer I got was that it is not got to do with Pakistan army but rather with the idea of Islamic supremacy/ Salafism/ Wahhabism or a desire for nationalistic supremacy of Pakistan. Such scenario were a common sight during Mughal Raj and Pakistan or should I say Pakistani Army establishment has a hangover of the past (they take deep pride in their forefathers’ so called “ruling” of India, even though more south Asian Muslims reside in India than in Pakistan and many in large numbers serve in Indian army forces and Intelligence agencies.)
Still the news was disturbing and brought back the stories of two famous executions in similar style during Mughal Raj, one was of Sambhaji, eldest son of Shivaji (first Maratha Ruler and a Hindu) and the second one was of Sardar Banda Singh Bahadur, a Sikh disciple of Guru Gobind Singh (10th Sikh guru). However, I would also like to mention Dhulla Bhatti, a Muslim Rajput (RobinHood of Punjab in 16th century) who was killed in the same scenario as William Wallace of Scotland whose story was immortalized in the Hollywood movie, Braveheart.
Sambhaji: 2nd Maratha King:
He was the eldest son of Shivaji, founder of Maratha Empire who laid the seeds of Marathi nationalism and his followers captured much of present Indian land. At the age of nine, Sambhaji was sent to live with Mughal commanders, as a political hostage for a treaty King Shivaji had signed with the Mughals. When he came back he proved his abilities, he was a good warrior and an able commander who won 128 battles and lost none. He was famous and hated by Mughals for “Scorched earth” tactics which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. It is a military strategy where all of the assets that are used or can be used by the enemy are targeted, such as food sources, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the people in the area. The practice can be carried out by an army in enemy territory, or in its own home territory.
Sambhaji did not have a very smooth relationship with his father King Shivaji and was imprisoned too and had equally tough time in ascending to the throne as there were many opponents to him.
The 1687 Battle of Wai, Maratha forces were badly weakened by the Mughals. The key Maratha commander Hambirao Mohite was killed, and troops started to desert the Maratha armies. Sambajiraje’s positions were spied upon by Shirke clan Marathas who had defected to the Mughals, and in February 1689 Sambhaji and 25 of his advisor were captured by the Mughal forces of Muqarrab Khan on 1 Feb, 1689.
He along with his captured men was brutally tortured for over a fortnight. The torture involved plucking out their eyes and tongue and pulling out their nails. The later part involved removing their skin. On March 11, 1689, Sambhaji was finally killed, reportedly by tearing him apart from the front and back with ‘Wagh Nakhe’ (‘Tiger claws’, a kind of weapon), and was beheaded with an axe. His torture and execution was done at Vadhu on the banks of the Bhima river, near Pune. People of Maharashtra, a state in India still remember him as a great warrior who fought for them and is lauded for his bravery. He was 31 years old when he was executed.
Sardar Banda Singh Bahadur
He was born into a Rajput family of Kashmir and owing to a freak accident had given up world life in his early 20s. It was after his meeting with Guru Gobind Singh that he became a Sikh and took up arms to fight against Mughal tyranny. From 1707 till 1716 at the time of his death, he struggled to fight against Mughal tyranny. His exploits and wars were against those Mughal who were so much consumed by power that they killed anyone who opposed them, which included noted Sufi saints . Sufi are the most liberal Islamic followers and don’t believe in material possession, unlike the Mughals of that time who took away everything that you had as per their wish. Hence forth many Sufis use to clash with Mughals over the later’s behavior towards masses.
Banda Singh even established the first Sikh state. There was one war in which he fought wazir khan of sirhind, in that battle he was joined by many Sikhs and Hindu jats, Gujars and Rajputs of about five thousand which propelled his army to a number of 50000 and won the battle against a well-trained army whose leader had issue jihad against them. Wazir Khan was killed.
Bahadur Shah, the Mughal emperor son of Aurangzeb journeyed northwards from Deccan to punish Sikhs as he has been in war with Marathas over there. Fearing that some Sikhs might not have smuggled themselves into the royal camp disguised as Hindus, Bahadur Shah ordered all Hindus employed of imperial forces to shave off their beards. Emperor Bahadur Shah’s order, issued on December 10, 1710 was a general warrant for the faujdars to “kill the worshipers of Nanak, i.e. Sikhs, wherever they are found. Banda Singh was chased out of every corner of Punjab and he took refuge in the Shivalik hills. There he got married to a daughter of hill chief.
He raided again into Mughal Empire but the numbers of Mughal army overwhelmed him. Later he was eventually captured after a siege of eight months in which some left him and remaining of his defenders ran out of ammunition and food. They tried to exist on boiled leaves and the bark of trees, and were gradually reduced to mere skeletons. Then on 17th December, 1715, Abdus Samad shouted across the separating moat, that he would not allow any killing by his men, if Banda opened the gate to the fortress. When Banda ordered the gate be opened, the Mughals rushed in to spear or stab as many as three hundred of the half-dead and helpless defenders. About 200 were captured alive and handcuffed in twos. Banda Singh had chains round his ankles and his wrists, and was then locked in an iron cage.
He was produced before the Mughal Emperor along with 740 sikhs where he was mocked for being a king. The execution of Sikhs went on for 7 days. Banda Singh was then given a short sword and ordered to kill his own son 3 year old Ajay Singh. As he sat unperturbed, the executioner moved forward and plunged his sword into the little child cutting the body into two. Then pieces of flesh were cut from the body and thrown in Banda’s face. His liver was removed and thrust into Banda Singh’s mouth. The executioner then pulled out Banda’s eyeballs with his dagger. While Banda sat still, the executioner took his sword and slashed off his left foot, then both his arms. Finally, they tore off his flesh with red-hot pincers and cut his body up into pieces. These details of the torture are given in full, by the following writers such as Mohammed Harisi, Khafi Khan, Thornton and Elphinstone. Banda Singh Bahadur was 46 years old when he was executed.
He was a Muslim Rajput from a warrior tradition and was a bitter enemy of Akbar, 3rd Mughal Ruler. His clan would not bow down to the then Mughal Emperor Akbar’s authority. Their pride was such that they refused to pay any taxes and refused to acknowledge Akbar as their ruler. When Akbar came to Lahore, he ordered the execution of all the rebels. Dhulla’s father and his grandfather were both killed. To instill fear into the hearts of the common man, Akbar got their skins stuffed with wheat hay (toori) and hung the dead-bodies on the main door. This death was so gruesome that even now to instill fear in north India, same story is repeated either to children or to enemies.
When this all incident happened Dhulla wasn’t even born, his mother was pregnant with him. He was never told of the cause of his father’s and grandfather’s death till he was a young man. There are many stories to justify this but the major theory is that at the time Dulla was born, Akbar’s wife gave birth to Salim (who would later become Emperor Jahangir). But Salim was a weakling and on doctors’ suggestions Akbar brought in Ladhi (Dhulla’s mother and a strong Rajput woman) to his palace in Delhi and made her to breast feed Salim. So both Dhulla and Salim were practically brought up by Ladhi and were milk-brothers. In adolescents, these two had a good friendship.
During a later period in his life Salim came to him as he had fallen out with Akbar and instigated Dhulla against Akbar. With salim’s help Dhulla built up an army and use to raid the caravan of Akbar’s merchants. He used to then distribute these items to the poor, thereby leading to a popular support for him in masses. It is believed that Dhulla had restored the prestige/Honour of an innocent girl whose modesty was outraged (she was rapped) by a Mughal general by marrying her off to one of his fellow commanders. He had also adopted her as his daughter.
Dhulla’s uncle Jalaludin was envious because of the rising popularity of his nephew and complained to Akbar against Dhulla. The final nail in the coffin came when Dhulla captured Akbar’s two wives that infuriated Akbar so much that he sent an entire Army to capture him. The overwhelming numbers of Mughal army went against him and he was captured.
Dhulla Bhatti gave them a fierce fight but eventually was captured and executed William Wallace way, where his body parts were cut one by one and his both arms and legs were sent to four corners of the Empire. His body parts were sent to all the regions of the Mughal Kingdom as a sign of a warning of the things not to do. There was one Sufi saint close to Dhulla Bhatti who tried to stop his excutions and for which he got into trouble with the police chief there at the spot of execution, the sufi saint’s name was Shah Hussain, he belonged to Dhudha clan of Rajputs. So this story also points out that Muslims in a whole were not in accordance with Mughals as many considered Mughals as foreigners and exploiters.Dhulla Bhatti was in 40s when he was killed along with his son.
The stories of these three brave men are synonymous in one thing that all died fighting for freedom at the hands of self-obsessed people who used religion and their power as a tool for propagating authority or in the words of scholars: Islamic supremacism (this stands true for Aurangzeb even though for Akbar that might be a subject of debate.) One knows that those associated with Mughal kingdom would never accept it as the war crimes but rather as punishments, which includes those Hindus who were Mughal subjects. The irony of the situation was that most non-Muslim officers were in the time of Aurangzeb’s court, but this doesn’t obliviates him of his genocidal actions towards Sikhs and Hindus who demanded freedom.
So my final question remains and most importantly that associated with the current scenario, are we still at war with that supremacist enemy,with whom our ancestors fought ?
There was another point which came out in the discussion:
Before Islam came there were fights between Hindus and Buddhist, as I guess it was in the nature of Humans to fight and more importantly those who lived in the region in todays world know as north India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The region of Afghanistan and Pakistan was full of Buddhist culture, something which has been documented and authenticated by the art facts found in the region (even though many Islamist or Ultra Nationalist in Pakistan want to deny it and try to link themselves as descendants of Arabs, in short propelling their inferiority complex in comparison to an Arab).
Whatever may be the religion, for 5000 years this region of North India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been in conflict with each other and with those who came from out site. So coming back to the main question, are these events part of small battle or recent war or rather it is part of an ancient war which has been going on for thousands of years.
For me and my debating circle, it seems like the ancient war is still carrying on, not that I am supporting it or condemning it but rather just observing it. Capt Kalia’s family fights for his death being recognized as war crime according to Geneva Convention, which I donot know when it will be accepted in UN.
One thing is sure that war crime of such kind has been part and parcel of South Asian history and nobody cares about it till the time it hits you.