Today in the times of Corona, we are watching Mahabharata.
Imagine Corona in the times of Mahabharata. I have tried to bring a snapshot of that imagination in front of you. Hope you’ll like it.
(Disclaimer – The story is a casual imagination for entertainment purposes and not an effort to change the Mythology. I do not intend to offend anyone by hurting their feelings, should they take it otherwise.)
“I will have to talk to your Dad about this, Duryodhana”.
“But Sanjay, I really need you. Who else do I go to?”
“Still, I need to consult him, Duryo.”
“Why bro.What about I share half of the profit with you!”
“Well…that’s a new angle to it…I will think about it and let you know” – saying this, Sanjay left the room.
“Shakuni Mama, as you have suggested, I have talked to Sanjay. He said he will give his answer later.”- Duryodhana was telling the details of his conversation with Sanjay to Shakuni.
“Bhanje…we need to have him on our team anyhow” – Shakuni addressed Duryodhana not by his name but just as ‘Bhanje’ (Nephew). He continued – “Sanjay is crucial for the success of our venture”.
Shakuni and Duryodhana were discussing their new venture which had its genesis in the Lock-down enforced to prevent the spread of deadly Coronavirus in Hastinapur. Due to the Lock-down, their gambling parlours were closed indefinitely. This hurt them very much. The gambling parlours were not just a source of revenue generation for them, but a major instrument of spreading rumours against the Pandavas. If Duryodhana was to be the king someday, he needed to weed out the love for the Pandavas from the public mind.
It was Shakuni who had an idea to shift the gambling business online. When Shakuni told Duryodhana about this idea,he was delighted. He asked Shakuni to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR). Shakuni prepared the DPR and mentioned Sanjay as a vital resource.
“Thank you Sanjay for considering our proposal. I promise, you won’t regret your decision”. – Duryodhana welcomed Sanjay to the meeting. They were meeting to further negotiate on the participation of Sanjay in the venture. Shakuni was present too.
“Well, thank you. But you have to keep my participation as secret. I will be an invisible partner. Don’t name me on the board of your company. As you know, I haven’t taken permission from your father – the King.” -Sanjay replied.
“Of course, Sanjay. Do you think Shakuni is such a fool?” – with these words,Shakuni brought himself in the discussion.
“Okay then. Now that we have settled on the modalities of my participation, please give me complete details regarding what this venture will be and what my role is to be in this.” – Sanjay cast a glance at both of them while saying this.
Duryodhana stood up and said – “Let me come straight to the point. You know our gambling hubs have been closed due to the lock-down. We have stopped making money and most importantly, we are unable to mould public opinion against the Pandavas. To deal with this, we are starting an online platform for gambling.”
“Okay, but you know that I have no experience in gambling. How do you think I will be able to help you?”
“Yes Sanjay, we know that. However, it is not for gambling skills that we are hiring you. You are being hired for the skills you already specialise in.”- Duryodhana replied.
Shakuni stood up now. “Bhanje, please have a seat. Let me explain from here.” He continued – “Sanjay,you are the adviser to the king for long. Despite his being blind, you have helped him rule for so many years. But, we all know that you do not provide him just with your counsel alone.”
“What do you mean?”- Sanjay appeared to take offence at Shakuni’s words.
“Relax Sanjay. No one is naive here. We all know that you are the greatest Rumour Expert. No one can plant a false story in public mind as nicely as you can. You are helping the blind King rule. All we are asking is to help Duryodhana become the next King after him. He is the eldest son of your Master and has the most legitimate claim to the throne. Don’t you think you have a duty towards him too?”, saying this, Shakuni looked towards Sanjay.
Sanjay was visibly perplexed. He gulped the wine from his glass in one go. Shakuni hinted Duryodhana to refill Sanjay’s glass.
Sensing lower resistance from Sanjay, Shakuni pressed his point further – “Sanjay, the online platform we are developing will provide a stage where many citizens will come together. Those who were regulars at the gambling parlours will definitely be there. Moreover, due to Lock-down, many citizens have work from home. Many of this category will also visit the online parlour as they will be bored at home. This will provide us a fantastic opportunity for rumour-mongering against the Pandavas. You just create the rumour messages, we will broadcast. Your name will not come to the front, so you need not fear any backlash from the Pandavas. And this Coronavirus situation presents us with an opportunity. If we are somehow able to make public believe that Pandavas are responsible for its spread, then the Pandavas will lose all the support they have managed to enjoy till now.”
Sanjay was jolted from within. He knew this plan was not so simple as it seemed to be. Any fallout will have disastrous consequences for his career and his future. However, after being privy to such secretive plans of Duryodhana and Shakuni, he could not just say no, fearing safety of his own life. He decided to consult Vidur,a man of Dharma who was the Prime Minister of Hastinapur and also the uncle of Kauravas. He excused himself from the meeting saying that he had had too much wine and was not feeling well.
“Oh,what a pleasant surprise. Welome Sanjay ji. Please come inside”, Vidur was strolling in his courtyard after having his dinner when he saw Sanjay at his door.
“Thank you Vidurji. Sorry for disturbing you so late in the night. I am okay at the door itself. I have to follow social distancing. Actually, I have come to you because I am in a trouble. I need your wisdom to get out from this”, Sanjay came straight to the point.
After hearing Sanjay in detail, Vidur lamented over how jealous Duryodhana could be of the Pandavas. Not even a year had passed since the Lakshagriha incident where he had unsuccessfully tried to burn the Pandavas alive in a house made of Lac and now he has started devising another plot. Vidur knew how disastrous the impact of misinformation could be, especially in the times of crisis. It could fuel disharmony in the masses and could even make people kill each other. If the Kauravas were able to hold sway on public opinion by propagating rumours, it would be a major setback to the Dharma. Vidur knew he had to do something to counter this. He asked Sanjay to wait and went inside the house. When he came out again, there was a wrapped packet in his hand.
Sanjay was surprised. He asked what that package was.
Vidur replied, “This is ‘Satyastra’- the truth weapon. This was given to me by the great cyber-expert of our era, Lord Shri Krishna. Now, I think, is the correct time to use it. This weapon removes hidden lies. All you have to do is to process your messages through this weapon. You can tweak its settings to hide it from persons like Duryodhana and Shakuni. To them, your messages will look like the rumours they intend to spread. However, to the public, it will be a tool to know the truth. Use it wisely, O’ Sanjay.”
Sanjay took the ‘Satyastra’ and thanked Vidur profusely. He also promised Vidur that he too will disband his rumour machinery that he used to employ to help keep the King Dhritrashtra in power.
It has been more than forty days of the Lock-down. Duryodhana’sOnline gambling has been showing great response as expected. He is making more money than he did from his gambling parlours. However, the rumours that he is broadcasting is being processed through the ‘Satyastra’ without his knowledge. Public is getting true news. Support of Pandavas among public is soaring. It is just Duryodhana, Shakuni and his team who are blissfully unaware of the true information.
The Lock-down has one more impact, the consequences of which will radically shape the future of Hastinapur. This is – Sanjay’s transformation from being a Rumor Expert to a seeker of Truth.
Photo By: unsplash
This is an entry for Five00-9, #Vintage. Find all the entries here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/category/five00/five00-9/
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