Fighting for rights from the wrong side

Most of us want to be decent, dependable and honourable human beings. We do not have any intentions to flout the law or accept the degenerate qualities displayed or practised around us.

On any given day, we would like to condemn the wrong and support the right. We are often inspired by great souls who have achieved great things in life by the virtue of sheer perseverance, patience, values and their convictions. Many of us actually manage to trudge along the difficult path till we are inadvertently tricked otherwise.

When we are at crossroads, some of us gather the courage to go back and set right what went wrong, whereas a majority of us slip into what could possibly be a bottomless pit. Then there are a handful who follow the path physically due to logistic constraints all the while retaining the spirit and sense of purpose till they achieve their ends.

The character of Shalya in the Mahabharata personifies the third set of people. When the war of Kurukshetra was declared, the warring cousins got busy acquiring military support. At that time, Shalya, the king of Madra, and the maternal uncle of Nakula and Sahadeva decided to support the Pandavas.

Accordingly, he rallied his army and proceeded towards Hastinapura. Duryodhana had arranged hospitality services for all the armies that were coming to support him. When he saw the massive and powerful army of Madra, he wanted it for himself. Hence the Kaurava prince instructed his welcome team to shower warmth and comfort on Shalya's arm.

The honoured king accepted the generosity with grace. He was under the impression that the Pandavas were welcoming him so. When the king went to thank his host personally, he discovered the truth.

He could have pursued his plan A after sorting out the confusion. Yet, his intrinsic values guided him to support Duryodhana for the simple reason that he had consumed the Kaurava salt.

When faced with the predicament,the king of Madra decided to take things forward based on the values instilled in him as a child. However, the worldlywise adult in him prompted to him, that he could be useful to the Pandavas even when he fought from the opposite camp.

Although fought bravely and well for the Kauravas till his last breath, he never lost a chance to point out their misdeeds and undermine their confidence by praising his nephew's side effectively.

When Shalya was appointed as the charioteer of Karna, he distracted the latter's attention by making snide albeit factual remarks. Later on when the king was made the commander in chief of the army he fought well and felt very happy and vindicated when he was slain by his beloved nephew.

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