The journey of civilization is filled with self-contradicting stories and sometimes myths. That is because only the inhabitants know the original story while invaders assimilate their diluted version in local history. India is no different. We have been taught that we were beaten by more powerful invaders. But that is an anti-truth. Lot of times, we were beaten by fate while at some times, we let our enemies go. Let’s have a look at a few of those uncountable instances.
Failing to capitalise on gains made by Pushyamitra Sungha
By 150BC, it was becoming clear that the Mauryan Empire was in decline. It had started to resemble the chaotic Nand dynasty, which Chandragupta Maurya overthrew to establish the Mauryan Empire. The last ruler of Chandragupta’s dynasty was Brihadratha. He was a weak, feeble, indecisive ruler. To put it simply, Joe Biden is the modern day version of Brihadratha.
Naturally, the Commander – in- Chief of his Army, Pushyamitra Shunga did not like it. He confirmed reports that Bauddha Maths were being used to shelter Greek invaders. Pushyamitra went to seek permission from his king for raiding these places. The Mauryan Empire, having a rich history of connection with Buddhism, would not like it and so Brihadratha did not pass the orders. But Pushyamitra was determined and raided those premises anyway. He captured and killed those Greek soldiers and presented Bauddh Bhikshuks to his king Brihadrath. But Brihadrath focused more on his hurt ego rather than the territorial integrity of Bharat. He developed a grudge inside him for Pushyamitra.
Later, during a parade both the king and military general got engaged in a verbal scuffle. Within no time, Brihadrath attacked Pushyamitra. In the ensuing fight, Brihadrath had to lose his life and Mauryan Empire was replaced by Shunga Empire, led by Pushyamitra Shunga. During his rule, he shut down the idea of positive discrimination towards Buddhist due to their religion. Pushyamitra respected Buddhist art and renovated lots of stupas and monuments. However, at the same time, he was quick enough to punish those Buddhists inimical to the interest of Bharat.
After his death, Pushyamitra’s son Agnimitra also carried forward the legacy of his father. However, Agnimitra’s son lost the track and from there on 8 more Shunga rulers could not contribute much towards the civilisational journey of Bharat.
We are still paying for Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan’s needless decency
While the Shunga dynasty got punished a bit late for their failures, Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan got instant punishment for his overly gracious nature of statecraft. When Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan was in charge of Delhi, Muhammad Ghori was looking for alternate route to capture modern day India. He had already suffered defeat at the hands of Naiki Devi of Chalukya Dynasty in Gujarat and found Delhi to be a perfect alternative entry point.
Though, the number of encounters between Samrat Prithviraj and Muhammad Ghori varies, the second last encounter turned out to be decisive point. In 1191, Samrat Prithviraj led a coalition of several Rajput kings and defeated Muhammad Ghori near Tarori.
But, instead of punishing Muhammed Ghori and obliterating him, Samrat made a fatal mistake of letting him go. The reasoning behind that decision is his ideals. Samrat followed the Rajputana’s rule of not taking a retreating enemy to the cleaners. Just like India did not go for Karachi in 1971 war, Samrat Prithviraj also took over Rajput areas captured by Ghori and let him go Scot free.
What did he get in return? Well, Ghori returned with a more organised Army of 1.2 lakh Afghan, Tajik and Turk horsemen defeated Samrat Prithviraj. Ghori, having no ideals of his own to live by, did not let Samrat Prithviraj go and killed him in captivity.
Luck cheated Hemu at crucial juncture
Though both Samrat Prithviraj and Hemu Vikramaditya were similar in their valour and henceforth stature, their end were diametrically opposite. Initially, Hemu was a general and Wazir of Adil Shah Suri of Sur Empire. At that time, Surs, who were Afghans, were fighting with Mughals for power in North India. The man had 22 victorious battles to his credit.
Hemu’s royal status came after he defeated Akbar in the battle of Delhi. It is after this victory, that Hemu assumed the title of Vikramaditya, a title mainly attributed to kings who brought glory for their motherland in Indic history. Akin to his title, he was marching towards victory in the Second Battle of Panipat as well. Towards the end of the battle, Hemu’s victory was almost fixed as he had just ordered his elephant and horse riders to launch a final offensive on the Mughal Army.
But, as luck or should I say bad luck would have it, Hemu fell unconscious by an arrow which he couldn’t foresee coming towards him. Watching their leader not in command, Hemu’s Army lost momentum and henceforth control of the battle. Hemu was later beheaded on Akbar’s order, who went to take the title of Ghazi after that.
Legacy of bad luck continued during Dara Shikoh
After the death of Hemu Vikramaditya, Mughal rule did not offer us much opportunity to resurrect our Bharatvarsh. But, there was a time in the early 17th century, when inner division inside Mughals gave us a spark of hope in the name of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son and apparent heir of the Mughal Shah Jahan.
Contrary to his forefathers, Shikoh was not a radical. He was in close touch with both Sants and moderate Muslim preachers. Despite being the heir of Mughals, Dara is known for The Confluence of the Two Seas. As the name suggests, the book proposes harmonisation of Islam and Hinduism.
More specifically, Dara advocated for assimilation of Sufi philosophy from Islam and Vedanta philosophy from Hinduism. Moreover, unlike his forefathers, Dara did not believe much in the expansion of the military, other than that for self-defence of course.
Despite that, Dara fought with valour for succession. When Shah Jahan fell ill, Aurangzeb and Murad raised the slogan of Dara being a kafir (apostate), and a war ensued against him. Dara was defeated twice, first at Samugarh near Agra (June 1658) and then at Deorai near Ajmer (March 1659).
Finally, in 1659, he was assassinated by Aurangzeb in Delhi after several rounds of torture. Dara’s eldest son became a victim of Aurangzeb’s cruelty and the younger son was imprisoned in Gwalior.
Janata Party and internal differences
For more than 300 years, there was literally no effort to revive the glory of Bharatvarsh. Every effort was focused on forcing colonists to run away from India. We did succeed and in 1947, English left, but ultimately leaving bhoora babus behind them. It took the tyranny of Indira Gandhi to create a space for revival of Indic culture.
Jaypee led the revolution, assimilating almost every identity group in his revolution. But as soon as the tyranny of emergency subsided, the unity started to disintegrate. Leaders who were not aware of the fact that Socialist policies were just an extended but cruel version of traditional Indian economic thought decided to call them socialist.
Apparently, the connection between socialism and political power was the main reason behind it. The Jaypee revolution gave birth to people like Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Mulayam Singh Yadav. All of them went on to become rags to riches on the back of creating division among Hindus.
Meanwhile, not everything out of the Jaypee movement was doomed. It gave birth to a phenomenon called Janata Party, which came to power in 1977. The party subsumed Bharatiya Lok Dal, Bharatiya Kranti Dal, Swatantra Party, Socialist Party, Praja Socialist Party Samyukta Socialist Party, Utkal Congress, Bharatiya Jana Sangh Congress (O) ,Congress for Democracy, Congress (R) , and rebels like Chandra Shekhar, Krishan Kant, Ram Dhan, Mohan Dharia, Chandrajit Yadav, Lakshmi Kanth under one umbrella.
But the burden of internal differences was too much. As soon as the common enemy was eliminated, the differences led to ideological and political divisions. In the 1980 elections, it could win only 31 seats out of 542. In the next 10 years, the Janata Party died a slow and excruciating death, ending hopes of revival of Bharat.
Atal Ji’s unexplainable loss in 2004 general election
But the demise of the Janata Party was not the ultimate end. For all its fault lines, it had paved the wave for the unification of Indians. And then came PM Vajpayee. It won’t be wrong to call PM Vajpayee as the most popular Prime Minister of India. He was the one who became the first leader to take on licence raj, even though LPG reforms had been on the scene from 1991.
He silenced socialists by launching various social sector drives like Sarvya Shikhsha Yojana, ultimate elimination of polio and other communicable diseases. Side by side, he also made it easier for doing business by launching the sale of loss making state owned entities.
Additionally, his Gram Sadak Yojana and highway construction drives made it easier for companies to sell products in the erstwhile hinterlands. His telecom policy also was a game changer in this regard. The fact that we are at the verge of downloading movies at 500MB/second is directly attributable to PM Vajpayee.
Not only that, he became the first democratic leader to challenge American hegemony by staying firm on India’s Nuclear test. Additionally, Kargil Victory is just another feature in his flock.
With so many achievements, a victory in the 2004 elections seemed certain. Shining India seemed inevitable to shine more. But somehow, the people of the country did not vote him to power. There is no explanation for why he lost 2004, but ultimately it was a collective decision, so we will have to take it with a pinch of salt.
2019 and PM Modi
However, Atal Ji’s legacies and life became inspiration for another leader named Narendra Modi. He showed his mettle first as Gujarat CM and then as Indian PM after 2014. Like Atal Ji, he focused on both domestic reforms as well as making a name for India on the global stage. In 5 years, he made policy paralysis, a thing of the past and investments started flowing in the country. On a political level, he integrated every identity group of the country into one single fold.
Moreover, India’s dominance during the PM Modi era did not shy away from chiding even the United Nations in the UNGA assembly.
Resultantly, 2019 general elections provided us with one more option to get the glory of Bharatvarsh on track. This time, the Indian public did not disappoint and in return, the PM Modi administration also did the same. Currently, we are the only country in the good-books of countries sitting on either side of the aisle of possible 3rd world war. India’s voice matters and we are currently kingmakers on the global stage.
All this has been possible because domestically we have refused to take moral lessons from western educated liberals. We are sorting our differences in our own way. We have young population and if this moment is not capitalised, it will take centuries for another such moment to arrive.
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