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Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Hindu Idea of Revenge...

Every morning, I cycle on a DDA park laid out over one of the medieval cities which shook India: Alaudin Khilji's Siri. The park is full of huge cyclopean dressed boulders, and the pathways go up and down, as they go over vast mounds and palaces and battlements.


It would be unbelievable in USA or Europe: the ruins of the empire which reached down all the way to Madurai being neglected, nay, being buried in a staid park over which bureaucrats and businessmen take their morning walks...
Peacock cry out loudly in the  park, and lizards slither amongst the ruins..
As I walk or cycle, I try to imagine, in my mind's eye, how the court must have been, 800 years back, which lies buried below. I try to imagine the hundreds of thousands of south Indian captives, who must have been enslaved and forced to walk all the way here, to die in the cold and the heat, after being worked to death in building Siri Fort.
The scene calls to mind Omar Khayyam's famous Quatrain:

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
     And Bahram, that great Hunter -- the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

But herein lies the whole significance of Siri Fort: more than any other fort in India, it was besieged half a dozen times by the Mongols when Alauddin Khilji was ruling, and they found it impregnable.
In other words, this place, this fort stood between the Mongols and annihilation for the masses of India.
But we, unlike the Taliban, do not dynamite our history: we just benignly build parks over them, instead of excavating them. Guess this is the Hindu idea of revenge for the ending of Warangal and Devagiri and Dwarasumudra....
PS: Why Siri? Legend has it that 8,000 severed heads of Mongols make up the base of the "Siri" fort....

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