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Parashuram principle

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When rent-seeking, predatory-elite become too numerous, they are forced out of the society. This is what the sixth Avtaar of Vishnu, Lord Parashuram did.

Lord Parashuram is a Chiranjeevi, means he lives among us. Lord Parashuram killed Kshatriyas (warrior class) around the earth for 21 years after his boon giving cow Kamadhenu was killed by a Kshatriya king. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Parashuram in Treta Yug to eliminate Kshatriyas who had strayed from the path of Dharma and had become a burden on earth it’s people.

Burden on earth, this is what it was all about in Treta Yug.

Such predatory elites have existed throughout history in most societies, civilisations and nations. They used various methods to justify their right to rule, from Inca to European monarchies to Tsars in Russia and Islamic conquerors in the Indian subcontinent. Whether it was divine right to rule, or establishing religious supremacy of Abrahamaic religions over Pagans or right to rule because of birth in aristocratic families. Marxism started from this point as a revolt of the oppressed but ended up creating elites that were more predatory and more oppressive.

Angus Maddison writes about Mughal Economy and Society (1971) that around 21 million Muslim elite (2 crore) out of a population of 150 million (15 crore) during Mughal rule were the parasitic rulers of Hindu India subjugated under Islamic rule. He writes that it was a regime of parasitic warlord predators and not agrarian feudalism that was seen in Europe during the same time.

Why is this important for us to know today?

Because, this Muslim predatory elite was the main reason India was subjugated for centuries and even in independent India, a predatory elite remains in place in the form of Congress-UPA-Lutyens eco-system. Medieval Indian Muslim rule had two main differences compared to other elites in different parts of the world and even at different times in history.

One, the sheer numbers of foreign Muslim predatory-elite were far too many for any population to sustain.

Two, this elite did not have any sense of responsibility or concern for their Hindu subjects.

These two factors gave whatever longevity Islamic conquerors (including Mughals) had over the Indian (mostly Hindu) population. Hindu kings and princes were never that many to be an unsustainable burden on the tax-paying peasantry, this was a reason they were fewer in numbers than the unlimited Muslim armies that came from all over the Muslim world from Turkic regions, Persia, Afghanistan to Arabia.

Hindu rulers could not tax their subjects to penury, famine and death like the Islamic rulers could. Hindu subjects of Muslim rulers were the ‘other’, Kafirs or infidels who were fair game as directed by their scriptures. The Hindu Marathas who replaced Mughals had to use taxation like Chauth and Sardeshmukhi on numerous kingdoms across India to sustain their military machine that defeated all Muslim rulers across India, from Afghanistan (Attock) to Mysore. This was resented by most Hindu rulers, which was one of the reasons that Hindu rulers supported the Afghan raider Ahmed Shah Abdali in the third battle of Panipat against the Marathas. Marathas had no choice, to establish Hind-Swaraj they had to build a massive military machine that required steep taxation. But the Marathas were still not brutal unlike the Muslim rulers whose brutality was seen as late as in 1948 when Razakar Muslim militias under the Nizam massacred innocent Hindu civilians in Mysore before the Indian Army under Sardar Patel annexed Mysore with the Indian republic.

Even though Marathas and the Sikhs after them were successful in removing Islamic tyranny from most of India, they could not build a stable state because just when they were consolidating, another foreign power, this time the British came to colonise and loot India.

The Indian state today faces many challenges, it is not over arching or a burden, in fact it needs to be more prevalent in society than it currently is. From policing to education to healthcare, the Indian state needs to grow rather than recede in order to help the masses. But, the Parashuram Principle remains as valid today as it was in Treta Yug. If the elite becomes parasitic and preys on the population, then they will be forced out. This is what happened in 2014 and again in 2019. May it sustain.

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