Great King Kamsa and the hunt for the real Kanhaiya



20, Feb 2016

Great King Kamsa was a smart ruler in the Kingdom of Mathura (near present day Delhi). While his focus was on development of his kingdom, he was bothered by news of sedition and rebellion. Then he received actionable intelligence from an akashvani that the eighth son of his sister, Devaki, would join hands with anti-national forces and challenge the kingdom.

What strategy did Great King Kamsa use for internal security of Mathura?
  • Much like Ajatashatru and Aurangzeb after him, the Great King Kamsa had to depose of his effete and ineffective father in the interest of the nation. He had given the offer to King Ugrasena to voluntarily retire, but King Ugrasena did not.
  • The simple people of Mathura could not appreciate this sacrifice and there was general negative public opinion against his moves.
  • To secure his Kingdom, he unleashed a reign of fear. He understood that the cowardly but bigmouth common man only understands the language of fear.
  • The Great King Kamsa rationalized the law on sedition and promulgated innovative rules of punishment for sedition. He gave severe punishment to any one voicing or conducting anti-national activities, with the objective of causing deterrence to others engaged in such activities.
Why did Great King Kamsa imprison his sister Devaki and brother-in-law Vasudeva?
When did Kamsa start the witchhunt for Kanhaiya?
  • Apparently Vasudeva was not as simple as he looked. He turned out to be an anti-national himself. After surrendering his first six babies to the executioner, he transplanted the seventh baby of Devaki to the womb of Rohini. This was probably done in a test-tube baby clinic. The seventh baby was named Balaram. He survived.
  • When the eighth baby was born, the double-faced Vasudeva smuggled it out of the palace and implanted it in a cattle farm. This baby was Kanhaiya.
  • On getting to know of Vasudeva’s duplicity, the Great King Kamsa and his courtiers went around looking for any baby born at the time of Kanhaiya’s birth.
  • Popular folk rap of Mathura, “will the real anti-national Kanhaiya please cry up, please cry up”, was composed in this period.
  • The Great King Kamsa did not relent and any baby born in the one-year period around Kanhaiya’s birth was tried under sedition law. The outcome of the trial is not clear from history textbooks.
Where did the Great King finally find Kanhaiya?
  • JK Rowling was a smart writer. She had marked Harry Potter with a lightning mark on his forehead so that Lord Voldemort can identify the chap.
  • When Lord Voldemort returned to take back the Kingdom that was usurped by the Ministry of Magic, he knew where to look for Harry Potter. But poor King Kamsa had no such chance.
  • But Kanhaiya himself was a show off. When not pubbing with gopis, he would do rock dance on five-headed-serpents and pull out mountains to show off his biceps.
  • Kamsa soon identified the anti-national little thing and sent his special forces to neutralize Kanhaiya.
Who was the real Kanhaiya?
  • Problem with the history of the Great King Kamsa was that there are gaps in the sequence of events. There is no definite evidence that Kanhaiya was the seditious brat. Kanhaiya could be any other cow herd DJ, busy composing EDM in his flute. But by giving him too much importance, Great King Kamsa made Kanhaiya his nemesis.
  • This is an instance of ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. Had Kamsa not given him the eminence by sending his beloved Putana (shown above) and Trinavarta to neutralize Kanhaiya, the cow herder would have remained with his herd his entire life.
  • It is also possible that the son of Devaki was someone else, doomed to a life of mediocrity because Kanhaiya stole his thunder of being a seditious DJ.
How could have King Kamsa approached the problem differently?
  • King Kamsa made the same mistake that his intellectual successor, Aurangzeb, made few hundred centuries later. Both followed a strategy of rule of law through the use of fear and deterrence. But they set the wrong example by going after minions in full force.
  • King Aurangzeb used to get paranoid about the Sikh Gurus, a Maratha entrepreneur ruler with a start-up empire, and the Deccan rulers. He used his full might head-on against these regional outfits, thus helping them get an image of underdogs. People sympathized with them and they grew into formidable forces. In a way Aurangzeb helped his opponents.
  • Kamsa should have used more rational intelligence sources and picked his fights strategically. His intelligence officers could have, say, fuelled a gopi to charge Kanhaiya of misconduct and violation of modesty.
  • Secondly, the Great King Kamsa should have followed a policy of appeasement and patronage towards the intelligentsia. You can fight wars, but you can’t fight these buggers who fight back with words. He should have extended royal patronage to pseudo-intellectuals, and more specifically, offered the post of Vice Chancellor in a Gurukul to a certain Ved Vyas.

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Tags | Anti-National Aurangzeb Great King Kamsa Intolerance Kamsa Kanhaiya Saturday Satire Sedition