Dec 12, 2011

One Enemy

The king was pacing up and down in his private chamber when the minister came in.

"Your Highness! I disagree with your idea of forging an alliance with the company men", the minister said.

Ours is the best army in the world. We have several lakh skillful infantry who can fight with swords and spears. 

Our cavalry is the best in the world. We have thousands of cavalrymen, each of them an expert at wielding swords when the horses' race at lightning speed. Some of them can also shoot arrows, or throw spears with precision and accuracy that are second to none! 

"We have enough of the army to protect our boundary from all the sides", the minister's voice beamed with pride for his command and their collective abilities.

"My friend, thank you for updating me on the strength of our army. I am sure, we can win all the battles, should we need to face a threat in the future. But then, let's have a long vision, my friend. You will then appreciate that I made my decision in the large interest of our kingdom", the king replied.

Portuguese are marching towards us from the south-west, while French recently captured Pondicherry. We have a constant threat from Mughals in the north. Though the company men (East India Company, or the British) are not interested in politics, they spread all over. 

I do bet that we have the finest army in the world, but should we always have to live with a constant fear of battles?

The question, my friend, is who are our enemies? The entire Bharat has been divided into several kingdoms; each of the rulers is fighting for his own power. While we are busy fighting against each other, the foreigners are coming in large numbers, enslaving us, and forcing us to trade with them.

"I am sure, with our army, we can win the battle for our kingdom. But, what we need is to think of winning the battle for all the kingdoms of Bharat", the king said in a reverberating voice. The minister absorbed the king's message and asked, "What do you see in Robert Clive? Of all the company men, why him?"

The king was happy that his minister understood his point of view. With a smile on his face, he replied, "While the other company men are trying to get our trade rights with them, it is only Clive who appears to have a vision of uniting the whole kingdom under one rule. Giving away the Cuddalore fort to him will help him achieve that goal"

"But what do we get in return, your highness?", the minister asked.

"One enemy! Clive has the potential to lead an army and fight with other foreigners"

"But, the United Bharat will come under a foreign rule. How can we let that happen my lord", the minister asked the king.

"True my friend! We cannot do anything about this. For centuries, we have had a lot of infighting and some of our own rulers are responsible for letting the foreigners come in and involve them in our politics. If we unite our nation under one foreign rule, we can identify that one enemy, who is common to all.

"But the one nation will be the most divisive one, my lord. Am afraid we may fall into a deep pit from which we can never come out again", the minister said in a grieved tone.

"I wish a Mahatma be born who will have the charisma to unite the whole nation and fight against the common enemy. But for now, we need to do this as our duty, irrespective of whether a Mahatma will be born or not", the king said.

"This is how Robert Clive captured the Cuddalore fort, and the rest is history", I finished telling the story to Deepak.

"Those who want to get down at Jipmer or Ashram, please come forward", the conductor was calling out to the passengers. "Should we get down here?", Deepak asked me.

"Let us get down at the Pondicherry bus stand, and roam around the city for a while before we take the connecting bus", I replied.

"I thought the same too", Deepak said. "Let us say "hi" to the French before we go to see the British".