Saturday, February 11, 2012

Political Treason - Part 3 - Famous instances of treason in Indian history

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Continued from part two.

After going through the examples of Dawood Ibrahim and Paritala Ravi in previous parts of this series, the next part of our journey entails looking at various instances of treason, which led to major change in political equilibrium of India. As stated in this article about addiction of power and treachery, while we can categorize with every instance of treason due to some selfish interests, more often than not, these acts lead to a whole range of butterfly effects which were either unintended or intended by the conspirator or were ignored. Some of such instances that I can think of are following. Readers are welcome to add on to the list, along with justification of course.

1. Sugriva against Vaali: This treachery had following far reaching effects on contemporary Indian geopolity. First is entry of a Ganga Valley based power (Sri Raama) in the politics of Krishna-Godavari basin, which Vaali had guarded jealously. Secondly, it resulted in decline in deccan's prominence. It also led to creation of pan-Indian common market which was subservient to Ganga Valley based power. For more details of this please read this series of articles on political history of Ramayana.

2. Vibhishana against Raavana - This treachery had following effects on contemporary Indian geopolity. To be taken combined with first example. First is the entry of Ganga-Krishna-Godavari alliance in politics of deep south and Kaveri basin and Sri Lanka. It also led to the access of sea trade routes and port cities to Ganga based power. Technology (bridge building, pushpaka etc) gained by Ganga based power. Like in example 2, this led to creation of pan subcontinental common market. For more details of this please read this series of articles on political history of Ramayana.

3. Shakuni against Kuru clan:  This betrayal of Shakuni brought about downfall of Kurus by instigating civil war between Kauravas and Pandavas - results well known. Mutually assured destruction in kurukshetra war. For more details please read this series of articles on political history of Mahabharata.

4. Jarasandha against India: Shursena yadavas of Mathura rebelled against authority of magadha under the intigation krishna-balarama. Kamsa was killed in an internal strife of Mathura Yadavas, thereby upsetting the plan of Jarasandha of pan-India domination. Jarasandha invaded Mathura repeatedly while on one occasion he extended an invitation to Kaal-Yavana, an adharmik outsider in the polity of India. This did not cause much ill effect, thanks to timely valor and presence of mind shown by Sri Krishna. However, Jarasandha became an example and progenitor of a form of treachery which repeatedly hurt India the most in years to come. For more details please read this series of articles on political history of Mahabharata.

5. Mahapadmananda against Mahanandi Shishunaaga - This resulted in beginning of Varna-ashrama system's collapse in India.

6. Aambhi against India - He committed a folly akin to Jarasandha by allying with foreigner yavana Alexander to defeat a native ruler of Punjab and Kekay.

7. Buddhist kings against India:  Again folly akin to Jarasandha by allying with Bactrian-Greek Demetrius and later Menander.

8. Pushyamitra against Briahdratha - This treachery destroyed Mauryan rule (which was limited to patna city and surroundings), defended India from Menander, the Greek. Also resulted in partial persecution of Buddhists. 

9. Chandragupta-2 against Raamagupta: This was a good treachery. This resulted in India having her "Vikramaditya" as emperor. Nothing needs to be said here. Emperor Chandragupta Vikramaditya's record speaks for itself. Read this article to know more about conquests of Emperor Vikramaditya.

10. Purugupta against Skandagupta - This treachery pushed India in civil war. Indian army under guptas were forced to fight on two fronts (against invading hunas in gandhara and against purugupta and pushyamitras along upper narmada valley). This resulted in capitulation of India under increasing pressure from the central asian hordes of Huns.

11. Baladitya against India: Baladitya achieved this goal by foolishly forcing Yashodharma, king of Malwa and leader of Indian federation which defeated Huns in successive battles in Punjab while capturing the invader king "Mihiragula" alive. Baladitya Gupta forced Yashodharma to give clemency to captured huna king Mihiragula.

12. Chach against predecessor king - This treason by Chaach caused the rule of Sindh to be passed on to brahmin dynasty from a Buddhist Rai Dynasty. Chach fought well and defended Sindh against Arabs. His son, dahir in his later life fell to qasim's invasion giving first stronghold of Arabs in Indian subcontinent.

13. Sabuktijin against Shiladitya of Gazni - This resulted in first political entry of Islam in politics of India. Sabuktijin's son the infamous Mehmood Gaznavi went on to destroy Somnath temple and massacre millions. More strategically this coup resulted in fall of India's outpost - Gandhara province which we today know as Afghanistan. Afghanistan, has been alien to Indian way of life, since this coup.

14. Jaychandra against Prithviraja - Jaychandra invited Muhammad Ghori to invade India against to settle personal vendetta against king of Delhi and Ajmer - Prithviraj Chauhan.  While this act of treason is not verfied as completely true in terms of historical veracity, it is immensely popular nonetheless. This was a folly akin to that of Jarasandha.

15. Plenty of such mistakes in Islamic sultanate period - But the system in this era was foreign anyways. Hence in either case, Dharma and India suffered.

16. Najib inviting Abdali - This was a folly akin to Jarasandha. To know more, read this series of articles on Panipat Campaign of Marathas.

17. Peshwa Bajirao-2 against India - Foolish peshwa surrendered himself to British due to his fight against Holkar and Shinde. He single handedly doomed the pan indian maratha empire in matter of 6 years. This has no parallel in annals of history, IMHO.

18. Various collaborators against Indian army of 1857: They helped British in bringing down the efforts of those fighting for India's independence in Anglo-Indian war of 1857.

19. Establishment of INC in 1885: Infiltration of Indian National Congress by the people with interests and agenda which were sympathetic towards British was the main reason why India's freedom movement was compromised and resulted in partition of motherland along with throngs of other problems facing the nation in modern day. Perhaps, this will demand a separate article.

The Red Thread of Continuity

One has to remember that the list of "treacheries" is interim. There are many complex factors which let to this decision by every single player either mentioned or not. But, the common denominator of that list necessitates acceptance of hypothesis that India has been a Saanskritik Rashtra (a self sustaining political unit) based on dharmik traditions. some action of some player which goes against the ethos of "dharma" is treachery. For him, that action might be a temporary compromise which he would take back from position of strength. And indeed there are many such instances where people did take back what was given away.

It is usually a preference of Ganga Valley people, that the rule should slowly change the shoulders. This is what was intended by both Marathas and INC during independence(from Mughals and British respectively). The inimical forces of similar background and nature prevented this smooth transition by means of Panipat and Partition respectively. 

Change of regime is bloody. One faction of X rebels and if successful, grows with time. If not, withers away. It involves culling of a large network of economic interests of predecessor system. There were three occasions when such culling take place in past millennium.

1. After ghori and later khilji
2. After babur and later akbar
3. 1857 and later 1947

On all three instances, those who culled an entire vaishya network (figures in millions on all three accounts) supporting predecessor system were foreigners. Was it possible for Indian and dharmik Marathas to indulge in massacre of that scale? Marathas were not just in sense of being labelled as Ramavatara. But Shahu could not do it. Heck, even Bajirao-1 could not pull it off. Sadashivrao Bhau could have, remotely, if he had converted Panipat into another Bahraich.. 

Opposing forces have to align properly, all snakes must be out in open, no fence sitters at least from enemy side. And, if bahraich follows, then and only than can some Bajirao-1 can sit on Delhi. Else no.. This is a very simple and easy to understand fact. The art lies in how to engineer such scenario at time and place of one's choice. 

A large nexus of Vaishya lobby has parked plenty of money in safe-havens today. Until that money exists, no meritorious man can win the election on his own. In other words we may call this "the baniya-neta-babu-judge-media pentacle". This network will try its best to save the incumbent system. If the force gets too much to resist, they will switch sides and help those who are opposing the system. 

But that support will come with riders which say that the opposers, when in power, will not touch their money. Thus in time, Marathas who left deccan as bitter enemies of Mughals, became their protectors.  Classic bollywood tale, but is a repetitive motif in history. This is also what happened to invaders like Mughals under Akbar. One who tried to reverse this effect was Aurangzeb, and look what happened to him.


To ensure no compromise happens, entire network either has to be relieved of their assets in short time, while the buddhi is stable like Parashuraama, british, mughals did and what Ramdev baba demands to do. Else this can be achieved when substantial network would be trained to indulge in nishkaama daana yoga, perhaps like Sri Raama or what MKG wished for.


Anonymous said...

Moral of the Story -

1. Indians are such character-less people.

2. Only one person is moral and upright - who has written this post.

Maybe you should reject a lot of these historical narratives.

Take a 2ndlook.

A simple answer.

After Ambhi's 'treachery', where is Alexander and Greece today?

Bankrupt and struggling to exist.

On the other hand, after so many 'treacheries', where is India today?

काय चालूये.. said...

@2nd Look ji,

I did not wish the article to emerge with "holier than thou" tone.

There is a red thread of continuity that I have been maintaining throughout series.

If you go through these three articles which I have cited in part one of this series as my "Purva-Paksha", perhaps you would have arrived at different conclusion.




These three articles which form the foundation of the series which I am in process of writing, question the fundamental understanding of the words like treason. I request you to go through these articles.

For example, action of Pushyamitra Sunga against Brihadratha is, by conventional understanding, a treason. But does it really have a negative connotation which the word "treason" usually carry?

Same goes with actions of Krishna-Balarama against Kamsa and Jarasandha. Jarasandha and Magadha were the central polity of India. Krishna rebelled against him, yes. From point of view of definition, this can be called as rebellion which in turn referred to as treason. But How did it affect the "Dharma" and India?

This series is questioning the negative connotation which is assumed fundamentally while using the words such as treason.

Furthermore, it gets complicated, if we think of India as a "Nation-State" of Westphalian character. But does India really look so?

IMO, India is a Civilizational state with "Dharma" as unifying feature. Any "treason" which leads to weakening of "Dharma" in India is bad for India and any treason which ends up strengthening Dharma is good for India.

There is plenty of water that has flown under the bridge since Ambhi's treachery. The fact that Greece has ceased to exist (has become a Christian state and that too a failed one since last 1700 years) while Hindu India continues to linger on says a lot about the character and the resolute nature of Dharma and Indians.

Furthermore, is the economic parameter the only way of measuring success and failure? In Dharma, there are 8 types of wealth referred to as "Ashta-Lakshmi" (The eight Lakshmis).

You can read about Ashta-Lakshmi here -

The point is, our system values all eight of them. A nation or an individual possessing all eight of them is the true reflection of Narayana himself. India has much to achieve on that front as yet. I agree we are on right path and will possess these 8 Lakshmis sooner than later.

Kaushal Trivedi said...

Pranam.. Deeply impressed.

Unknown said...


I may be sounding paranoid,esp. considering the current political fad; Just wondering along with the 19 treacheries you mentioned in the post, will AAP's treachery in 2014 LS elections will be considered as a 20th point, in the long term.
Due to divide and rule happening now (esp. pls look at a brilliant mind like Shanthanu Bharadwaj - Satyameva Jayathe: I am yet to get over the shock) nationalistic votes will split which will bring back Adharmic forces. I dont see much future for whatever is left of Bharath, in that case.