Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lessons from Vijayanagar Empire

Indians would do well to leaf through the pages of history and see the state that our past disunity has always left us in. Starting from the early invasion of the Greeks, Huns, Turks, Afgans and finally the British, Indians have failed India repeatedly because of narrow differences that turned to lethal chinks in our armour. Today again we seem to be drawn toward a vortex of a whirlpool of strife by the narrowness of the politicians, their petty politics and votebanks. SP, NCP and Congress are not together to further any common cause, their arrangements reek of pure opportunism. The same way BJD's ditching of NDA is not because Naveen suddenly understood the glory of secularism, he is just keeping his options open and perhaps this may turn out to be his biggest miscalculation yet, as the a father-son due discovered not so long ago, much to their chagrin. The voters don't trust deserters. BJD has sadly failed to learn from history. Alas.

Our politicians, perhaps the last people of the face of this planet who could be expected to have too many intellectual pursuits, would do well to learn to from the fate of the glorious Vijaynagara kingdom. Under the able leadership of Krishnadevaraya, this Empire prospered like no other in contemporary history. At a time Babur was laying waste much of the northern part of our great land, here was a ruler that had the might to strike Babur's Mughal tail all the way back to the desert hell-hole that he had come out of. Unfortunately such a confrontation never happened, and Krishnadevaraya died before he could find an able successor; his equally able son having died of some disease before he could be crowned. Krishnadevaraya, left behind a prosperous Kingdom, a valiant army sadly in the hands of inapt successors. Surrounded by petty Nawabs and Sultans, Vijaynagara soon fell under their collective onslaught. Folklore has it that army of vermin sacked one of the most spectacular city that Medieval India had seen for months on end, till all that was left were the ruins of Hampi. If you have not visited Hampi, please do. Few pages of Indian history, few stories of empires lost would move you so much. We Indians have a lot of learning to do from fate of Vijaynagara.

It frightens me to think, that India seems suddenly poised it a similar brink. Surrounded by enemies, the forces that have come to the fore as contender of power are either a party that has ceased to be driven by the lofty goals that helped it play a significant part in India's Independence and have descended to appeasement as a state policy; or a hotch-potch of opportunists of all hues across the land called the Third (class) Front. The one collection that with its many failings still speaks of a strong India and united India suddenly seem isolated. And that's exactly what frightens me the most. Have we all been suddenly condemned to a collective blindness? Let's pray not.

India is a land of miracles, and when people wish, Miracles happen. One just hopes that they see the danger that the country is passing through and get the right people back to power.

Vande Mataram