“Ghar ka bhedi Lanka dhay”- A traitor can destroy a powerful country
This old saying in Hindi refers to Veebhishana, the brother of Lanka’s mighty King Ravana, who swithed loyalty to Rama that ultimately led to the defeat of Lanka. It is an issue whether his actions of siding with the enemy were correct and whether his sudden evolution of conscience could be justified.
While Veebhishana was hailed as the one who sided with righteousness by those who read and interpreted the Ramayana from Rama’s point of view, he also has continued to carry the burden of being the symbol of Traitors.
Times to time, there have been great challengers. Jai Chand betrayed Prithviraj Chauhan by leaking strategic information to the Afghans. Years later when Siraj-ud-Daula was trying to fight the British, his trusted aid, Mir Jafar dealt a fatal betrayal. Siraj was caught after the battle of Plassey and killed when the location about his hideout were passed on to the Englishmen. Mir Jafar had deceived his Nawab. He was labelled as Gaddar-e-abrar (Traitor of the faith). In a combo pack, the duo of Jai Chand and Mir Jafar are refered as the the twin symbols of Betrayal in India.
Edward Smowden could claim the Title among Americans. Senior officials from US administrations have defended the government’s action of sweeping of phone as well as internet data and condemned the whistle blower for his action. He is being labelled as a traitor and a spy for the Chinese. The damage however is done and US has for ever lost the moral high ground over their Chinese counterparts. The extent of damage could be far reaching for the US to calculate. Was it an act forced by his conscience or is there a different story to be heard? We might never be able to decipher this given the complexity of the case with secret agencies of such caliber involved.
In India, when the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just started to feel close to political power and believed that Modi’s elevation can help the party win the next year’s election, the most powerful opposition came in the form of Advani. A hawk himself, his actions have cast doubt whether he is the Bheeshma Pitamah of BJP. He has for predictable reasons hurt the party and by doing so has behaved more like Veebhishana.
While the fate of Mir Jafar and Jai Chand were not very good post their action, Veebhishana temporarily did become the nominated King of Lanka. The fate of Snowden and Advani would be out in the near future.