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चिमणीला सापडला मोती. A very beautiful children's story (don't know its origins, reminiscent of Panchatantra though I've read Ramesh Mudholkar version) which introduces to children concepts of
1. Leverage of Power
3. Interweb of dependencies and weak-spots of targets
The sheer genius of Shri. Vishnu Sharma for composing Panchatantra to teach deep intricacies of politics to children and grown-ups alike is mind-boggling.
Short synopsis of it is thus :
A sparrow and Crow are friends. While foraging for food, Sparrow finds a beautiful Pearl. Crow bring big, snatches it from small sparrow and refuses to give it back. Sparrow pleads but crow refuses to give it back
Sparrow goes to the tree on which they have nests. requests tree to shake crow's nest. Tree refuses - Why should I do it, crow hasn't done anything to me? Then Sparrow goes to a wood-cutter. Asks him to cut the tree. Woodcutter refuses - Why should I cut the tree, tree hasn't done anything to me.
Sparrow then goes to Fire - asks fire to burn woodcutter's axe. Fire refuses - Why should I burn axe, he hasn't done anything to me. Sparrow then goes to water - asks water to extinguish fire. Water refuses, saying why should I extinguish fire, it has not done anything to me.
Sparrow then goes to elephant - asks him to drink up the water. Elephant refuses - why should I drink up that water, it has not done anything to me. Then Sparrow goes to meet an ant. Tells entire chain of events and her grievances and makes a very specific demand to the ant. Sparrow asks ant to bite elephant in its ear. Now ants were also troubled from the elephant because of his rampaging walks, many anthills used to be destroyed. So Ants had attacked elephant once in his trunk and ears much to elephant's horror. Ant instantly agrees to help sparrow. But asks sparrow to help her place the ant in elephant's ever flapping ears.
Sparrow picks the ant in mouth and with great difficulty places the ant in elephant's ears. Once here - Ant threatens to bite if elephant does not oblige to sparrow.
Elephant pleads and requests ant not to bite and that he will oblige to drink water. Looking at elephant obliging, water instantly yields and agrees to oblige to extinguish fire. Looking at water obliging, fire instantly yields and agrees to oblige to burn woodcutter's axe. Looking at fire obliging, woodcutter instantly yields and agrees to cut down the tree.
Looking at woodcutter obliging, tree instantly yields to sparrow's demands and agrees to shake the crow's nest and make it fall. Looking at tree preparing to shake its nest, crow finally yields up the pearl it had forcibly snatched from the sparrow.
Thus sparrow achieves lasting victory.
She does so by of course - standard hardwork, perseverance etc.. That is granted. But sparrow did much more than that.
Sparrow understood :
1. everyone has a weakness. She used her efforts to find them and leverage them
2. Sparrow understood the concept of escalation ladder
3. Sparrow knew exactly what to ask from whom. Often that is the problem - people do not know what to ask from whom.
4. Sparrow took this learning from point one to its source - We call it prati-prasava saadhanaa in saamkhyayoga. Taking a problem to its root and eliminating it when it was nascent.
5. By knowing (or taking efforts to know) the animosity between ants and elephant, she finally found success. From her point of view, both ants and elephant were irrelevant to her, her life, her problems. But yet she took care to understand their points of view (purva-paksha).
6. Sparrow understood the obvious motivation for ant was the continued nuisance of elephant to ants. Ants and Elephant were perpetual enemies so ant would not need any reason to harm elephant. Other duals were not perpetual enemies. They were circumstantial enemies.
7. Sparrow knew she was superior to ant and could exert power over ant. In fact until this link in the chain, sparrow was at the mercy of everyone else. But here ant was at the mercy of sparrow. Sparrow need not utter the threat - it was in the subtext. But sparrow made ant an offer it could not refuse. Chance to punish old enemy. And threat of death in case of non-compliance. Carrot and Stick.
8. Sparrow not only identified elephant's weakness and ant's strength - she also offered to take ant to elephant's weak-spot using her own strength (flight).
In some versions, after woodcutter, sparrow goes to king, then to queen, then to a rat and then finally to a cat. Cat does not need any reason to eat rat. But rat needed a strong motivation (of being eaten by cat) to trouble the queen so that she could mobilise the king.
The fundamental enmities are much more promising to exploit than circumstantial ones. Which also means, as far as possible do not have existential enmity with anyone. you will be open for exploitation by some clever sparrow. Keep all your enmities (and friendships) circumstantial.