In my first semester at IITB, a professor told us, “Life, as you will see ahead, is never black or white. It’s just grey.” Coincidentally he is teaching us again after 3 years and this line is now more apt than ever. The context however is not philosophical but political and moral. The ongoing carnage between Israel and Palestine has coerced the entire world into a moral conundrum. And a very difficult one!
On one hand, Hamas, leading the Palestinian charge, has been labelled as an international terrorist organisation. It has shamelessly dug tunnels to Israel and thrown rockets there. It provoked Israel to react after killing its 3 soldiers. And Israel reacted. Ruthlessly and odiously. The actions of Israel have resulted in the deaths of over 1400 Palestinians, 300 of them being children compared to a total death toll of just 56 Israeli soldiers. No rationale, however veracious, can justify such a mammoth number of child-casualties. Israel should be held culpable for this heinous act.
So who’s right? Israel or Palestine? Which side to choose? The answer is not that simple. And like every juncture when you are faced with a moral dilemma, here too Mahabharata manifests itself. Frankly speaking, Mahabharata never ceases to amaze me with the ubiquitous nature of its application.
Consider Palestine (and not Hamas) as the Kauravas here. Even after the greedy Arabs denied the Jews their own state, Jewish immigration did not stop and hence caused displacement/ eviction of millions of Palestinians from their homeland. Just like the Kauravas, they were not allowed* to own what was rightfully theirs. Then radical fronts draped the dissent in violence and started revolts and attacks on Israel.
Israel, the Pandavas here, are believed to be the more righteous side, atleast by the White House. Although it has always advocated the two-state solution, its attacks on Palestine have had more civilian casualties than militant. Considering all the previous conflicts including the Arab revolt, Six-day war, War of attrition, Lebanon war and the recent bloodshed, Totalin from 1860 to 2014: Jews/Israelis – 24,845, Arabs/Palestinians – 90,972
The growth of Israeli territory is shown and that is some crazy territorial expansion.
So just like Mahabharata, neither Palestine is entirely wrong nor Israel is entirely right. In fact, despite America’s support, Israel looks on the darker side, especially after such genocide and rapacious annexation.
That’s why Mahabharata is so brilliant. It captures real people and real situations in all their grey shades, unlike Ramayana which clearly segregates people into good and bad. The only manifestation of Ramayana that I can see is Russia, the Ravana of modern world…
*- whether they were forced to evict or they did it voluntary is still unknown and one of the key reasons for this war
These are some brilliant sources for detailed reading:
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