While advising Yudhisthira the responsibilities of a King, Pitamaha Bhishma says, “Be a garland maker, O King, not a charcoal burner.” This appears in the Rajadharmanushasana Parva in Shanti Parva of Mahabharata. Here Bhishma wants Yudhisthira to preserve and protect diversity. The metaphor is that a garland maker will go around the garden picking flowers from various varieties of flowering plant and then will thread them together to make a beautiful garland. A charcoal burner goes on cutting trees to collect wood chunks to burn them in low oxygen environment to make Lump Charcoal. Though the by-product is of use in cooking the contrast used here is that the charcoal burner burns down all kinds of wood, reducing diversity to a homogeneous matter called “Charcoal”. Superficially to the world a charcoal burner is reductionist who has destroyed the diversity that the wood had, whereas the garland maker celebrates the diversity of the flowers and retains them in the “Garland”.
Pitamaha Bhishma was a seasoned campaigner in the socio-political scenario. He knew that the King will be doing justice only if he is taking the entire subjects into confidence and rule. The idea of appeasement of one section of the society never has and never will do any good to the administration. “Social Justice to All” is the ideology which reflects pluralism and in pluralism there is an array of diverse thoughts. The society develops only when all are treated in the same lines. A few decades back an order was passed by the government that the “Tiller would be the Owner of the Land” in a view to bring in social justice between the haves and have nots. What happened in reality was that poverty was distributed equally among the haves and have nots. Many Hindu temples which had hectares of land donated by the Kings, lost the land and were rendered so poor that even today the Archakas (Priests) in many of the ancient temples request the devotees to contribute oil for the Nanda Deepa (Perpetual Lamp).
My country had Kings who followed Dharma and took care of every citizen irrespective of which community or tribe he belonged. Everyone irrespective of whether they were rich or poor, skilled or unskilled were living under Rajashraya (protection of King). It was the responsibility of the administration to see that everyone is provided with the basic social amenities in life. The Raja Purohit (Royal Priest) and Mahamantri (Chief Minister) would take the responsibility of providing the work and thereby remunerations. When the King was back from the war the Raja Purohit would advise the King to build temples to wipe of the sin accumulated due to the number of deaths in the battle. The King would sanction the project and the skilled and unskilled labour would have work for more than a decade. This was how the society would benefit and we are fortunate to have some wonderful architectural marvels now.
Subka Saath, Subka Vikas (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth) should be the mantra for the society to grow uniformly. It is unfortunate that we see in a few states that the administration is appeasing one section of the society which is very dangerous affair.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “An appeaser is a fool who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”.