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“Hazaaron saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai

Badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deedawar paida”


The truth is that the real Father of our Nation is the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, and its grandfather is the great Emperor Ashoka. I have written two articles, ‘Emperor AkbarThe real Father of the Indian Nation’ which is on my blog Satyam Bruyat, and ‘Emperor Akbar, not Mahatma Gandhi, is the real Father of the Indian Nation’ on the portal so I will not repeat what I have said there. A good father protects and teaches his children. Small children are immature, and usually do not know what is good for them. A good father has to teach them what is in their interest. He is loving of his children, but that very love sometimes makes him use strong measures to prevent his children from going astray. 


He compels his children to go to school, knowing that it is vital for their prosperous future, though most children would, if given a choice, prefer to play at home.


Similarly, the father of a nation loves his subjects, but that very love makes him sometimes use tough measures and enforce discipline. The people are mostly backward and with little understanding of what is good for them. In India, most people are casteist, communal and superstitious. But a good leader is intellectually ahead of the masses, and understands what is good for them (the masses being like children cannot). And for that he sometimes has to use tough measures.


A good example of this is Mustafa Kemal of Turkey (1881-1938), who was given the title Ataturk (Father of Turkey). I have written about him in my article ‘Parliamentary democracy has failed, we need a dictatorship’, which is on the portal


Under the feudal, backward rule of the Sultans and Caliphs, Turkey became the ‘Sick man of Europe’, with European powers kicking it around. The Ottoman Grand Vizier, under instructions from the Sultan, even signed the shameless Treaty of Sevres in 1920 with the Allied powers for partitioning Turkey. Mustafa Kemal refused to accept partition of his country, and with his associates staged a military coup against the Caliph, defeated his army (which was backed by the European Allies) in the Turkish War of Independence, and set about modernizing Turkey by sweeping political, economic and cultural reforms for setting up a secular modern state. 


He abolished the Caliphate and sharia courts, suppressed the reactionary clergy, introduced free and compulsory education (including education for girls), gave equal civil and political rights to women as men, set up technical institutes and industries, and replaced the Arabic alphabets with Latin ones.


Mustafa Kemal’s programme of modernisation was sought to be emulated by King Amanullah of Afghanistan (see my blog ‘King Amanullah’ on my blog Satyam Bruyat), and had he succeeded today Afghanistan would have been a modern country with its people enjoying a high standard of living, but unfortunately he was deposed by reactionary elements in Afghanistan in a coup engineered by the British.


Emperor Akbar’s genius was in realizing that India was a country of great diversity, and hence the only way to keep it together was by giving equal respect to all its communities (I have explained this in detail in my two articles on Akbar referred to earlier). Hindus like Raja Man Singh, Todar Mal and Birbal were appointed to the highest posts. It was because of his wise policy of sulh-e-kul that the Mughal Empire lasted so long and made India prosperous. In this respect Akbar was far ahead of his times, for at that time Europeans were massacring each other in the name of religion. It is because of Emperor Akbar that today we are Indians, and not just Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains etc.


Like a true father, Akbar, could also be tough when the situation required such a disposition. In 1562, when he was only 20 years old, Adam Khan, son of Akbar’s foster mother Maham Anaga, murdered Akbar’s Prime Minister Atka Khan. Furious at this, Akbar had Adam Khan thrown down from the ramparts of Agra Fort so that his brains came out.


This sent the message throughout the Empire that while the Emperor is a fair and reasonable man, he will not tolerate indiscipline or outrageous behaviour. 


Similarly, the modern minded government of reunited India, which will be created in the future, will not tolerate religious extremism or bigotry, whether Hindu or Muslim, or caste hatred, or discrimination against minorities, dalits or women, and crush it with an iron hand. Too much freedom is also bad.


I have said earlier that while Emperor Akbar is the Father of the Indian Nation, Emperor Ashoka is its GrandFather. There can hardly be found greater rulers than these two in the whole world’s history.


In ‘The Outline of History’ H.G. Wells writes “Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, the name of Ashoka shines, and shines almost alone, like a star.”


To describe the greatness of Ashoka I need not refer to all his rock and pillar edicts (they are all available online), but will quote just a few.


In his Kalinga Edict Ashoka says:

“Directly after the Kalingas had been conquered, the remorse in His Sacred Majesty for having conquered the Kalingas, because the conquest of a country involves slaughter, death and carrying away captives. That is a matter of profound sorrow and grief to His Sacred Majesty”.


One may read all of world history, but is there a single example of a victor expressing grief over his victory? Did Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon or Hitler express grief after a victory? Ashoka stands alone in this respect.


Rock Edict 6 states: “Beloved of the Gods King Piyadasi speaks thus: In the past, state business was not transacted, nor were reports delivered to the King at all. But now I have given this order : that anytime, whether I am eating, in the women’s quarters, the bed chamber, the chariot, the palanquin, in the park, or wherever, reports must be given to me about the affairs of the people, so that I may attend to them wherever I am. I am never content with exerting myself or with despatching business. I consider the welfare of all to be my duty, and the root of this is exerting myself and prompt despatch of business. There is no better work than promoting the welfare of the people, and whatever effort I am making is to repay the debt I owe to all beings to assure their happiness”.


In other edicts Ashoka refers to the medical centres he established, wells he ordered to be dug, mango and banyan trees he ordered planted besides roads etc.


Thus Ashoka was perhaps the first ruler in the world who attempted to set up a welfare state.


In Rock Edict 12 Ashoka says “Whoever praises his own religion due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought ‘Let me glorify my own religion’ only harms his own religion”. (See also my blog ‘Emperor Ashoka and religious tolerance’ on my blog Satyam Bruyat). 

This edict is even more relevant today than it was in Ashoka’s time.

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