As Are The Subjects, So is the King

May 08, 2010
Suresh Naig

Some centuries back in a fertile land a king was ruling the province advised by his intelligent and cunning minister. The minister was so cunning to make people believe in a loaf of bread as a piece of ham. The province had bountiful crop and the king was affluent. One day, the king in consultation with his minister wanted to test the honesty of his subjects and accordingly each family was asked to contribute one measure of milk on the eve of temple festival. When the big trough was opened the next morning, the king was worried to find only water and that too was not full. He inferred that many have not participated and the ones who have participated were cheats. However, he found that his cunning minister was happy to see the half filled trough of water.

When questioned, the minister said ‘my lord you should be thankful to your subjects for making things easier for you’.

The king though initially confused, was enlightened having listened to the plans of the minister. Accordingly, a grand milk abhishekam was performed for the presiding deity of the temple, sans milk. Huge quantity of water from the container was poured on the idol and a select few hired by the minister were praising ecstatically the king for the huge quantity of milk used for consecration. The water used in consecration was packed in earthen containers and sold as Milk Prasad for the devotees. As though it was not sufficient, the king imposed additional tax on his subjects towards the temple ritual.

The minister advised the king to impose more taxes towards public amenities such as deepening the common well, desilting the village tank, construction of Public Park, schools and hospitals, but not to complete any such work. All these works were commissioned with so much fanfare and left half finished. However huge functions were organized to commemorate the completion of welfare works. Again the minions engaged by the minister publicly praised the king for the welfare work commissioned and completed by the king. The tax money collected was frittered away by the king to enlarge his crowded harem.

One day the king enquired the minister to explain the lack of resistance of his subjects towards his misdeeds.

The learned minister responded, ‘my lord it is a vicious circle. When public do not participate in the system they get alienated from the very system and lose the will to question the wrongs. A ruler need not fear non-participative public’.

After pondering over the minister’s statement the king asked him ‘because my subjects were non participative you have instigated me to indulge in misdeeds, will kings in the future ensure non participation of subjects, so that they can indulge in misdeeds?’

The cunning minister replied ‘Kings will not be there, but ministers will ensure that’.

A marketing professional, yet believes in talking only the truth. An optimistic maverick remains a puzzle, puzzling others.
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