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Did Mahabharat inspire to solve Terrorism in Myanmar?

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Ankit Shah
Ankit Shah
Indo-Pacific Security & Foreign Policy Observer, Consultant, PhD scholar and Past Academic & Research Associate of IIM Ahmedabad. Follow his twitter handle @ankitatIIMA for China-Pak issues.

There’s a sad joke on the plight of Rohingyas who are declared security threats by their own country Myanmar and Bangladesh. It goes like this – when UN asked Aung San Su Kyi, if she has to say anything in her defence of the gross violations of human rights, she replied “No, I am from Miya-Mar”. The joke is not in a good taste for the vast majority of peaceful Rohingyas. However, experts argue that all infiltrators who risk their lives by crossing an armed border are proven security threats as you can’t expect them to follow local laws and police forces in the routine life. They cite the example of Europe already facing the music of random acts of jihad violence.

I wondered if violence has any historical back-up as a solution to terrorism. In a recent conversation with one of my Afghani friends, I coincidentally weaved up an uncanny resemblance of the Buddhist fight against terror with that of Pandavas fight in Mahabharat. Let’s dissect this odd analogy with few questions from the talk.

  1. Where did Gandhari came from & what was her life like?

She came from Gandahar in Afghanistan. Learned Vidur advised on infanticide of her radical son for the greater good of the society. She goes on to produce 101 children. She chooses to be blind and is unable to control her radical sons and help the innocent Pandavas. She is powerless to reform the radical ideology guiding her sons and hence she earns all the bad name for her sons’ terror acts. Despite being a good person and having the moral understanding of what is right and what is wrong, her silence and inaction proved very costly to the family and the nation. At the end, she curses Krishna who led the cause and fight for establishing dharma instead of taming her sons.

  • Who came with Gandhari? What was his role?

Shakuni came with her and citing victimhood, he took up the task of indoctrination of hate by blanket separation between Kauravas and Pandavas from an early age in the name of training, nurturing and educating them. Violence is the obvious outcome when you instil a limited political identity on a young mind, refusing to accept the existence of others. He had an excessive control over the radical sons of Gandhari. All the acts of terror were planned at his venue and as per his inputs. He plotted snatching Pandavas’ fair share of property by violent acts, persecuting them and cunningly reminding the victims that they are not supposed to do any Adharma at any instance and continued to exploit them at every opportunity. He presided over ousting the Pandavas also from the last share of land parcel given to them for survival. He planned the public molestation of Draupadi too. He delayed war to the point when Kauravas reach comfortable majority in numbers and forged a coalition with foreign forces.

  • What role did Dhritarashtra play?

Dhritarashtra was an epitome of secularism, blind by birth to all the groups and especially towards the evil acts his non-minority beneficiaries do. It was his secularism and under his watch that Dharma of the Pandavas suffered. He was unable to do justice as he was bought by the vote-bank blackmail of Shakuni. Through him all the riches-wealth creation of the Pandavas drained to the radical Kauravas like an open case of loot. As I say, the evil is not in the crown, it is in the greed for the crown. His injustice to Pandavas went on unchecked to an irreversible point. His radical sons kept on milking his secularism till the end. At every point, he denied genuine rights and claims of the Pandavas and continuously persecuted them in their own country. In his watch and under the watch of his entire governance structure, the radical sons had a free pass to molest Pandavas’ wife.

  • How did Lord Krishna lead the Fight on Terror?

Lord Krishna explained the less-numbered Pandavas that they have to fight against terrorism. He prepared them to fight against their own brothers because they were evil. Despite being a warrior, the God never used any weapon in the war himself. The way he led the war, shows it was a mix of mentoring strategy, tactical cheating and real fight.

The Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu in Myanmar did not take any weapon in his own hands, but successfully led the fight to save Dharma. The culture perpetrating terror and human rights abuses on others was ousted. This shows that the war against terror was led by a spiritual guru who understood his responsibility of being a civilisational guru too. So, it is not government’s job alone. People’s participation matters too. And for that, our Gurus will have to understand that they will not be able to do their individual spirituality, if there is no civilisation in the first place. War is bad. But not going to War when required is even worse. Which culture-ideology is driving the violence logic-intent shows whether the violence is good or bad.

At the end of our talk, my Afghani friend had a tinge of hope in his voice. He exclaimed ‘we love Bharat and we will do a Mahabharat on Taliban’.

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Ankit Shah
Ankit Shah
Indo-Pacific Security & Foreign Policy Observer, Consultant, PhD scholar and Past Academic & Research Associate of IIM Ahmedabad. Follow his twitter handle @ankitatIIMA for China-Pak issues.
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