Lessons from Sher Shah Suri…

Travelers and wayfarers during the time of Sher Shah Suri’s reign, were relieved from the trouble of keeping a watch, nor did they fear to halt even in the middle of a desert.
They encamped at night at every place, desert or inhabited without fear they placed their goods and property on the plain, turned out their mules to graze, and themselves slept with minds at ease, free from care, as if in their own house and the Zamindars, for fear that any mischief should occur to the travelers, and that they should suffer or be arrested on account of it, kept watch over them. [Above is the image of Sher Shah’s mausoleum, which stands even today as majestic as the reign of the lion king ever was]
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THE REIGN OF A KING AND THE KING OF A PEOPLE

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by Nayyar Hashmey

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On our political chessboard, all games and gimmicks are being played these days. On one hand are the lawyers and the civil society – fighting for a just cause, of reinstating the deposed judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (who were forcibly put out of office through the draconian order of a President who had the whim of a tamed judiciary). Opposite to them stands the same man, the President (though beleaguered) who doesn’t want to read what is already written on the walls. On sidelines are the Pakistan peoples Party and the PML (Q). The former has a track record of fighting the establishment but now that they are in government, the latter offering props to the PPP, Mr. Zardari is in a quandary. The PML (Q) having been rejected at the polls and their mentor being himself in troubled waters, they too don’t know where to go and what to do.

       In the current and highly volatile scenario, it’s now well apparent that the President has to go. Whoever emerges triumphant, the PPP, the PML (N) or a coalition of both; for each of them there is a lesson, a lesson from history, but unfortunately our tradition has it that no one wants to learn from history, only the sages do.


       In the current and highly volatile scenario, it’s now well apparent that the President has to go. Whoever emerges triumphant, the PPP, the PML (N) or a coalition of both; for each of them there is a lesson, a lesson from history, but unfortunately our tradition has it that no one wants to learn from history, only the sages do.

       Yet we do have the optimism to see some spark of wisdom in both our popular leaders. We believe they have the mettle to learn, so for them we turn a page from the history, a lesson from a ruler who was no democrat, an absolute ruler – the Shahenshah-e- Hindustan, the builder King Sher Shah Suri.

       The famous Indian historian, Abraham Eraly while dealing with the second Mughal king, Humayun and his temporary setback and exile, has written a chapter in his book “The Last Spring, The Lives and Times of the Great Mughals”. In a chapter the “Afghan Prelude” to discuss Sher Shah’s brief but eventful rule, he writes “Travelers and wayfarers during the time of Sher Shah Suri’s reign, were relieved from the trouble of keeping a watch, nor did they fear to halt even in the middle of a desert. They encamped at night at every place, desert or inhabited without fear they placed their goods and property on the plain, turned out their mules to graze, and themselves slept with minds at ease, free from care, as if in their own house and the Zamindars, for fear that any mischief should occur to the travelers, and that they should suffer or be arrested on account of it, kept watch over them”.

       Obviously the king was not distracted by any consideration of democracy, yet his concerns were entirely pragmatic, as Eraly informs us “With peace and security came prosperity”. From his early days, Sher Shah had given high priority to caring for the people”. Where the people are ruined, the king is ruined” he believed. He, therefore, took great care that the protector of people – the army and the revenue officials did not as often happened, become the oppressors.

       For leaders of Pakistan, there is much to learn, much to follow the pattern set by a ruler of the yester years. “Don’t let the people ruin, if they are ruined, you are ruined as well”. This is the lesson from Sher Shah Suri, from history and from people of Pakistan as well!

Related Post:

Rohtas – A Lion’s Fort – I Rohtas, A Lion’s Fort – IIRohtas, A Lion’s Fort – IIIRohtas, A Lion’s Fort – IV
Image source 

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Published in: on 14/06/2008 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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