When Ancient Epics Mirror Contemporary Geopolitics

A Study of the Mahabharat Era & Today's Multi-Polar World

Have you ever imagined how the strategies and machinations of the epic age, as narrated in the Mahabharat, mirror the geopolitics of our contemporary multi-polar world? Do we, in our modern power plays, unwittingly reflect the dynamics that existed on the eve of the monumental Kurukshetra war?

Embark with me on a journey across time as we explore this fascinating juxtaposition.

The ancient world of the Mahabharat was a complex network of kingdoms, each with its allegiances and rivalries, much like our current multi-polar world. Just as we have leading nations today – the US, China, Russia, and the European Union among others – the epic era too had its powerful entities: Hastinapur, Dwaraka, Indraprastha, Panchala, and others.

In both scenarios, alliances are formed and diplomatic engagements pursued with an underlying objective – to establish and maintain power. Just as Krishna embarked on a diplomatic mission to the Kuru court to avert war, modern leaders also engage in diplomacy to prevent conflicts and secure their interests.

The balance of power then, as now, was fluid and subject to constant shifts. During the Mahabharat era, Duryodhana sought the might of Krishna's army, while Arjuna opted for Krishna's counsel, each decision drastically influencing the power equation. In our world, strategic alliances like NATO, ASEAN, or BRICS tilt the balance, impacting global politics.

The ethics of war have also been a matter of contentious debate both in the Kurukshetra war and in modern warfare. While the epic text underscores the descent into adharma with the breach of war rules, our contemporary discourse grapples with similar issues, be it the use of nuclear weapons or biological warfare.

However, stark contrasts also exist between the two eras. The Kurukshetra war was a decisive event that culminated in clear victors and a transformative era. Our multi-polar world, on the other hand, witnesses a perpetual state of flux with power constantly oscillating among nations, and no singular, defining resolution in sight.

The discourse on righteousness, dharma, held central stage in the Mahabharat era. Krishna's discourse in the Bhagavad Gita emphasized duty over outcomes. In our world, this essence often gets diluted, with the ends justifying the means, raising critical ethical and moral questions.

As we draw this parallel, ponder upon this: Are we in our multi-polar world, playing out the ancient script of power dynamics, as etched in the Mahabharat? Are we paying heed to the lessons of dharma, diplomacy, and power it offers us? And more importantly, are we prepared to face our Kurukshetra, to address our moment of reckoning, when it arrives?

Perhaps it's time to look back at the wisdom enshrined in our ancient texts to navigate the complex chessboard of our contemporary geopolitics. Maybe then, we can find a path towards a world that balances power with dharma, strategy with morality, and politics with peace.


More by :  P. Mohan Chandran

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