Sunday, October 9, 2011

Let’s Do It the Chanakya Way

When I think about Chanakya, I think about the ordinary teacher from Takshashila, who could dare dream to bring good governance to his kingdom and fulfill it by playing a pivotal role in dethroning the then cruel ruler of Magadh “Dhana Nanda”. Many a times, we jump into the conclusion that Chanakya took revenge from the king as he was humiliated in his court and was thrown out of the palace, being pulled by his hair. When we meticulously research about Chanakya who was also know as Vishnugupt, we come to know the bigger picture and the foresight that this wise Brahmin had. He never gave much importance to his personal interest. His determination to replace Nanda with a deserving candidate as the king of Magadh had taken the shape of a vow when he realized that one who tortures his subjects merely to get more revenue, without caring about the security of united India, must not continue as the ruler of a kingdom. One teacher of his stature taking such a vow provided the courtiers with enough reason to laugh at this farcical move. However, the way Chanakya strategized to get this almost-impossible goal achieved is what made him a character of the history to be studied again and again.

Chanakya proved that no matter how much animosity you have with each other within the country, it is always a priority to deal with the foreign invaders. In this context he says when there are too many problems in your family, you should sort out the biggest one first. Following this principle, he sidelined his vow for years and concentrated on pushing Egyptian invader Alexander back to his country. He knew that it was impossible to unite the whole of India by simply dethroning Nanda when the security of the nation was already threatened by an alien invader. 

For ease of study, we can analyze the three pivotal roles played by Chanakya in order to prevent India from getting ruined by unfaithful rulers: one – in dethroning a cruel, unorganized, spendthrift ruler like Dhana Nanda; two – in uniting the whole of India and making it a far more powerful nation; three – in discovering and mentoring an able ruler like Chandragupt.

Even when we take it on a personal reference, the first segment teaches us that we should always identify and uproot the negativity in our inner self to remain strong; the second segment proves that unity shows strength; the third segment says we should always choose proper mediums to fulfill our dreams and to secure our fulfillment as well.

These days when we say we idealize Gandhiji, it becomes obvious that we follow non-violence. However, with disregard to all the above insights, when we say we idealize Chanakya, there is always a chance of being comprehended that we are trying to be diplomatic to get our ends achieved. When we read a book or a story written centuries ago, the first question that comes to our mind is that whether there is any relevance of the learning in today’s context. I can’t say about other books or teachings, but Chanakya’s principles (popularly known as Chanakyaneeti) definitely have the potential to bring many positive changes in the field of politics and in many other environments if applied constructively. Study of Chanakya makes you brave enough to dream what is impossible to fulfill and remain determined throughout while playing the best cards in the wittiest way. However, the most important part of the story is that you must have a selfless dream - something which is for the public interest more than just remaining a personal desire.