Bahubali – Morally Correct and Politically Correct – Which should take Precedence?

Though analysing a movie this much seems a bit out of the nature, the reality is that what transpired in Bahubali is how kingdoms are made and unmade. Take the case of the senior – Amarendra Bahubali. His father was made the king in preference over his elder brother, Bijjaladeva, who is physically handicapped. But, by the time Bahubali was born, his father passed away and his mother died in child birth. Sivakami, Bijjala’s spouse, took care of the child and as a regent, of the kingdom. Her first mistake is, she tried to be just, treating Bahubali and her own son, Ballaladeva as equals. With two capable persons vying for the throne, it is bound to create factions in the court and discontent for the loser. Instead of that, what would have happened, when it is emphasized in the childhood that Ballala will be the king and Bahubali, the commander-in-chief and both of them trained accordingly?
Ballala may be cruel. But, did he not prove himself by killing the enemy commander on the field, whatever the way? Will it not create discontent when, one, in spite of killing the commander is not made the king? Then, what did she do? Pending coronation, she sent him to get to know the kingdom. Can’t it wait ten more days? With this, she sowed the seeds for utter destruction – Bahubali falls in love with a girl and knowing that, Ballala asks for the same girl. Because Sivakami’s word of offering the girl to Ballala is not honoured, Bahubali is asked to choose between throne and the girl – he chose the girl. This is the next mistake. Instead of asking him to rule as a vassal or exiling him, she forced him to be the commander-in-chief. What’s the need for public humiliation of such a popular person? That was clear in the open rebellion during coronation.
Now come to Ballala. If he felt Bahubali can ruin his future chances as a king by leading a rebellion, he should have silently got him assasinated. But, no. He chose public humiliation. He demoted him from the role of commander-in-chief and an irritated Devayani, Bahubali’s wife, blasts everyone. Did Sivakami say anything? She was as silent as Vidura or Bhishma. After that, the newly appointed commander-in-chief publicly tries to molest Devayani to which she responds in kind. Bahubali is exiled based on that and even after that, Ballala tries to crush him, not kill. After much scheming, Bahubali is killed, Sivakami knows the truth and declares Bahubali’s son as the new emperor. She escapes execution, but dies of wounds later and the boy is presumed dead. It turns out that the boy is alive and kicking, and leads a rebellion to kill Ballala.
What happened? Sivakami, in the name of justice, created an alternate centre of power and the potential of a civil war. Ballala, instead of finishing off potential resistance, tried to humiliate them out of spite. After a long gap of 25 years, his son and heir is killed and then, he. What did he achieve out of it, except utter destruction of his line? Wouldn’t all these, and the unnecessary bloodshed have been averted hadn’t either of them acted in the way, which is politically correct, irrespective of the moral stand? And kudos for the film crew for showing these inherent weaknesses in our governance model that succinctly.
It is clear that the story is loosely based on Mahabharata, but it highlights the usual problem of preferring morally right over politically right. How many kingoms were made like that and how many unmade? And, ironically, we haven’t learnt our lessons with examples scattered all over history, coming even into the recent past – the accession of Srikrishna Deva Raya, the creation of Ramaraya, the treatment of Raghunatha Rao Peshwa and many such.

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