MB on Indo Pak Relationship

Today (March 13, 2013) there is lot of fire and fury on Pakistan’s interference in Indian Affairs. Why do we find ourselves in this situation? Despite being a big fish in a small pond, we are at the receiving end. All our neighbours, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal  and China are entirely antagonistic to us. The only reasonable relationship we have is with Bhutan because Bhutan has been good to us.

In this context I was reminded of this from Bhadrinath Chaturvedi’s *Mahabaratha – An Inquiry in the Human Condition* (Pages 146 – 147):

“She (Draupadi) had moments earlier argued that to fragment reconciliation, or forgiveness, from desha and kaala, ‘time and place’, and the character of the person concerned, paatra, and then place upon it an absolute value, is to invite disrespect, not peace.

She gives numerous examples of it from daily life. She recounts a parable which, she said, she had heard as a little girl on the knees of her father. It was about a question that Bali had put to his grandfather, Prahlaada, and the latter’s answer. The question was: ‘Between force and reconciliation, which is superior?’ The answer was: ‘Neither force nor reconciliation is good always.’

The man who is gentle is disregarded by everybody; and the man who is harsh keeps hurting people. He who knows the occasion to be one or the other is truly a great king.’

Without disputing that Kshma, forgiveness, is a good quality, and reconciliation may be the best, Draupadi argued, on the other hand, that it would be great mistake to think that they are so always. Neither force nor reconciliation is good always: Na Shreya: Sathatham tejo na Nithyam shreyasi kshma |

He who is always forgiving invites several defects. His relatives, his subordinates, his enemies, and even those who are nuetral to him, behave towards him with disrespect; nor does anybody ever show him courtesy, because forgiveness is seen as weakness, and weakness invites disrespect. Therefore, to forgive always is unwise even for the wise.

But the man who uses force always, and never forgives, also invites many wrong things. Without regard to place and occasion, full of anger and force, he keeps punishing people. He alienates friends and becomes an object of hatred to his own people; because he insults others, he suffers losses, and in turn is treated with reproach and disrespect; all around he generates anguish, hostility, and agitation, and in the process loses everything, often his life.

Draupadi admonishes her husband, Yudhishthira, that  for these reasons one should neither be always gentle nor be always forceful; rather, according to the different contexts, desha and kaala, one should always be now gentle and then forceful.

There is a time for forgiveness; and there is a time for force.


Shastriji unfortunately died very early into his tenure as PM. But he showed when to use force and also when to forgive. Indra Gandhi did that in 1971 (force) and later Shimla. But unfortunately in both occasion we did not recover lost lands. ABV did that with Kargil and later tried the Agra peace talk. Kaala and desha was with him but not paatra. But he tried his best. Rajiv did that with Sri Lanka. LTTE stabbed him and the tamils in the back.

MMS has not shown that he understands this statement of Draupadi: “He who knows the occasion to be one or the other is truly a great king.


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