Return Of Chanakya
Return Of Chanakya
283 BC, Pataliputra, Mauryan Kingdom
Chanakya was starving himself to death. He was the one who identified Chandragupta, groomed him, and made him the king of a great empire known as the Mauryan empire. His son Bindusara was ruling now. But Bindusara hated Chanakya as he was poisoned by a lie told by a minister that Chanakya was responsible for his mother's death. Since then Chanakya was starving himself to death. He loved Bindusara and still had great love for the kingdom. But he could not bear being held guilt for the queen's death. The story went this way. When Chandra Gupta, Bindusara's father, was on the throne, Chanakya was adding poison to his food day by day to make him strong and make him immune even to the worst poison. Not knowing this, the queen partook the food reserved for Chandra Gupta when she was pregnant.
When Chanakya heard the incident, he wanted to save the heir to the throne. Therefore, he cut open the womb of the mother to save the baby, and in the process, the queen succumbed to death. Ultimately, by this act, Chanakya followed his duty towards the empire and saved Bindusara, who was to become the king.
When Bindusara learnt of the truth from the queen's nurse, he came rushing to Chanakya and seek his forgiveness. Alas! Chanakya was in his last throes. He, however, promised the king and said famously “I would be back.”
2020 AD, Rajdhani in New India
The Minister of Ultimate Knowledge (MUK) arrived at the dining table. Hot parathas made from stuffed potatoes with a dollop of butter was awaiting him. He gobbled up a couple of them with the mango pickle and sighed in satisfaction. Then the bearer poured him a cup of tea, specially made with desi cow milk, crushed ginger, which would help in digesting the heavy meal. He took a sip and nodded his head in appreciation of the taste. He ran his palm through his bald head and closed his eyes and thanked Lord Rama for a good life. He had more hair around his cheeks rather than on his head.
He opened the bookmark and looked at the new chapter in Chanakya Niti. What a genius Chanakya must have been, he thought. Chanakya had written his treatise, which was still valid in 2020. Ramayana was meant for masses, while the Niti got meant for rulers like him. When in doubt, he referred to the book and found new interpretations. He had particularly read and reread the chapter on what the ruler must do in dealing with calamities. India was facing one such. Why India, the world itself, was facing one.
While his master was urging the masses to indulge in some tamasha (fun), to forget the pain temporarily at least, he got busy in pushing through things in the valley, which otherwise wouldn't have been possible at all or might have gone the 'CAA' way. He had tried his best in the most-wily way to take control of the valley, but the troubles wouldn't go away easily. Now the coveted international prize for the photo journos. He had asked his right- hand man to examine the provisions of the Act "Freedom of Expression" (Conditions Apply) to see if the trio can be put behind the bar where there is no justice. He had used the COVID-19 cover already to round up all the anti-national viruses and put them behind the bar. The count was growing like those infected. Oh! That Sally, why did she get pregnant? How did she find the time, amid all the protest that she was doing?
This kind of situation was new and not dealt with in the Niti. He opened the silver box and took out a sweet paan (betel leaf) and took a bite. The paan was from Benaras; his master had specially ordered for him. He let out a loud burp. Hearing the sound, the orderly opened the door and asked him if he wanted something. MUK waved him away. Just then, the orderly produced a visiting card and said one gentleman had come to meet him.
MUK saw it was Varish Mukar, another international prize winner journo, who walked in leaning to his left. Why is it that all eminent Indians lean on the left and become antagonists, he wondered? Leaving only the motor mouths republicans, a big embarrassment of a sort, to support the regime.
As the orderly ushered in, he spat into the container, a gesture, not missed by Varish. However, calmly Varish reminded him of the promised interview. MUK said, "shoot."
Varish said, "social media has been agog with your absence, could you please inform what has kept you busy?"
MUK was in no mood to answer this question. He picked up the phone as if he received a call and replied: "I will leave in a moment and be there." Then he told Varish, "I have to leave, if you could leave your questions behind, I would get back." As he was leaving, MUK pointed to the three monkeys, made famous by the Mahatma, that was kept on the sideboard and said to Varish, "Apni Dosti bani rahe(let us keep up with our friendship)." Varish wondered where he had heard that dialogue, as it rang a bell.