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HomeOpinionsLesson from Mahabharat: Maharaja Shalya, traitors & freedom at the time of War

Lesson from Mahabharat: Maharaja Shalya, traitors & freedom at the time of War

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Since, the skirmishes at various points on the India-China border, with eventual martyrdom of Indian soldiers, we have seen a sudden spike in questioning the central leadership and Indian Army. One of the most liberal and intellectual reason cited by the most journalists, opposition and woke citizens are, it’s our nationalism and job to ask questions, we are not here to believe in some side, rather we are here to believe in facts.” Often these kinds of ill-intended but well-equipped, and cleverly put work can misguide the nationalists and the innocent unaware citizens. Let’s revisit our past, where one of the similar incidents happened, which in due course lead to the well-known result.

Maharaj Shalya was the maternal uncle of Pandavs, he was the ruler of Madra kingdom and brother of Madri, the second wife of Hastinapur’s King Pandu. He was tricked by Duryodhan to fight alongside him in the Battle of Kurushetra.

He was deeply anguished by this, but in compliance with his Kshatriya dharma, he fought alongside Duryodhan. In popular tales, it is believed that at the time of seeking blessings before the war, Yudhishtir asked Shalya to demoralize Karna when he faces Arjun in the final war.

When Karna was made The Senapati (General) of Duryodhan’s army, he wanted a great charioteer who could match Shri Krishna in terms of wit and skills, here Maharaj Shalya was the obvious choice. When Duryodhan asked Shalya to do the same, he initially refused. But after long deliberation, he agreed on the condition that he would have the “Right to speak his mind” (the modern Freedom of Expression). When Karna was in the final war with Arjun, on one side Shri Krishna was motivating Arjun while Maharaj Shalya was immersed in questioning the credibility of Karna.

He threw various tantrums, from questioning Karna’s Shastra (weaponry) and Shaastra (knowledge) to exaggerating Arjun’s capabilities. Being distracted by his own charioteer and doubting his own capabilities was one of the major reasons that Karna lost. Not to forget being Senapati and the King of Anga, he could’ve brought a replacement chariot instead of himself pulling out the stuck wheel from the mud. Moreover, Shalya chose to exercise his “power of liberty” and didn’t help Karna in pulling out the stuck wheel.

Traitors often disguise under the “freedom of expression”, “right to question”, “democracy”, “principles of journalism” and the similar-sounding words. It is better to not fall in their propaganda and curb their rights at the time of war.

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