Sakthi Vikatan  18 Feb, 2014

Series 8

Tipu and his Turn…  Sēvāratṉā Doctor T.S. Narayanaswamy. 

Our ancestors have listed the three important causes of life’s everyday problems and difficulties: Love of Land, Love of gold and Love of woman. (In Tamil, மண், பொன், பெண் = Ma, Po, Pe are rhymers = Land, Gold, and Woman.)

Love of land and gold and consequent effects, Adharma (unrighteous) gambling resulting in Kurukṣetra war in Mahabharata are well-known. Coveting of the wife of Rama, going to war only to lose the greatness, sustaining defeat and dying in the war are the story of Ravana as depicted in Ramayana.

The three important causes of unhappiness are 1) Avarice of land, 2) Avarice of gold, and 3) Avarice of woman

We are familiar with land and gold avarice, the untoward terrible effects, and Adharmic gambling and their evil consequences in Kuruketra war in Mahabharata.  Lust for a married woman leading to loss of all glories, defeat in war, and ignominious death are well known story of Ravana in the Great Epic of Ramayana.

Gold is the cause of robbery, murder… Though gold sells for Rs. 22,000 each sovereign (2014), people’s love for the gold is insatiable. The mandatory dowry of gold jewels for the bride is the impediment and problem for wedding.

We read in newspapers daily about the criminality associated with lust for woman. Of all the crimes registered at the jail, a great percentage are related to physical abuse of women.

In the name of service to the nation and people, some politicians are engaged in anarchy and abuse of power.

If you throw a stone in a lake, the resulting circular waves spread to the lakeshore. The problems are like that. In today’s world the common problems of the families and people are inadequate income, the debt burden, family disputes, poverty and suffering from lack of food, clothing, housing… We drown in such difficulties, unable to cope.

Our ancestors though short on prosperity, lived a full life. Today’s generation, though enjoying modern conveniences, always live in fear, bereft of tranquillity. How could it be changed? The best way is to bring out the great Sakthi of man, approaching the problems in orderly manner, and finding solutions and success.

No fear of problems, analysis the causes and remedies, determination of the approach to the problems, our intellect and life experiences: They are not simple enough for resolution. Knowing the history of our ancestors who faced such problems, their life events, and success in resolving them serve us as a lighthouse.

Tipu Sultan the ruler of Mysore led the struggle in the fight for Indian freedom. He was called The Tiger of Mysore, because he ruled his enclave in an amicable manner with the capital in Srirangappattinam in Mysore without a Hindu-Muslim divide. He was a challenge to the British rule.

The British could not capture Mysore during the first and second Mysore war. When Lord Cornwallis was the Governor General towards the end of 18th century, the third Mysore war began, and blood flowed in Srirangappattinam. There were heavy losses on both sides. To stem the loss, Tipu desired to have a peace treaty with the British. To prevent further loss on their side, the British were ready to sign a peace treaty with Tipu. Tipu ceded half his territory to the British besides promising payment of war indemnity for 35 million rupees.

The British knew that the Tipu Treasury did not have 35 million rupees because of the heavy losses from the two wars.  They also knew Tipu had no personal wealth amounting to the said amount. The British calculated Sultan had no choice except to save himself and spend a life ease by ceding the country.

Besides, it is an honor issue. It was an economic issue and surrender of freedom of his country. Tipu’s decision would determine his and the country’s future.

He had to give up one or the other to the British in his reply: It is ‘I’ versus ‘the country.’ Tipu created history by attacking the problem from a third dimension and said he had a third option. He concentrated his thought to the third dimension which took a life of its own.

Socrates said, ‘Time is an interval between two events.’ Tipu, a polyglot of 14 languages and a scholar employed time as an instrument, and determined to ask for a grace period for the restitution of losses sustained by the British in the war. Tipu calculated if the opponent exercised patience and trust during the grace period and if he came up with an appropriate recompense, he was confident he would get the grace period.

Tipu did not want his country to become a vassal state. He determined with audacity to let Cornwallis take his two sons as hostages and a guarantee of future payment.

The country and every household shed tears. The British could not refuse the offer. The British thought wrongly that unable to meet the monetary obligation and not wanting to be away from his children, Tipu quickly would  buckle under burden and surrender the territory to the British. Their calculation went awry. 

The Tipu subjects were brimming with love and gratitude to Tipu for letting  his children  taken hostage by Cornwallis to save the country. They thought that their own children were taken hostages. They worked hard to rescue them. The subjects played their individual role to accumulate 35 million rupees. The subjects paid the taxes on their own volition.  A surfeit of revenue graced the treasury. Thirty-five million rupees were delivered to the British in a matter of one year. Tipu’s children were released. The land prospered. The Royal house (all other houses) were joyous.

Tipu’s shrewd calculus reigned supreme.

When solving a problem, sometimes new problems pop up. You might have to sacrifice. When you put your plan to work with confidence, there is a way to solve the original problem with others.

Tipu episode is a historical example: With a bold and different approach and audacious self-confidence, we can find solutions to intractable problems.

 The tree will grow.


Country Bumpkin!

Often, whatever may be the problem, the victims are ordinary people with nothing to do with the problem.

A teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a priest, and a villager were waiting for the bus at the bus stop near a four-road intersection. They had a general conversation.

The lawyer pronounced, “I plead to win every case. If it is not for me, the problems, the country faces, will grow.” The priest said, “I pray to God for the welfare of all the people. That is the reason for the prevalence of peace in the country.” The doctor boasted, “I save all from diseases. Therefore, I am equal to God.” The teacher said with pride, “I teach and improve the intellect of all. My service is superior. Next to mother and father, the Guru comes, even before God.”

The villager presumed to be a country bumpkin by the four city slickers, frustrated by listening to the ponderous and proud city folks, said, “Listen gentleman, I am the one who cries, while you line your pockets with my hard-earned money. Therefore, I am superior to all of you.”