Saturday, October 1, 2016

Moral dilemmas Vs tactical necessities









Many decisions that leaders take in the war and otherwise have a moral aspect to it and some  tough decisional environments have a dilemma.

 In year   43  BC king Gamini Abaya is faced with a dilemma, a young man , from a powerful family is told by a soothsayer that one day he will be the king of Srilanka. He unfortunately for the king , and himself , does not wait for the prophesy to come true. he take that to his own hands, and raise an army and sends a letter to the king asking for the kingdom, of which the king himself has been crowned only 05 months back.

For the king this is not the only such letter he received that week. Another pretender in the form of seven marauders with a large army from south India has just landed in Mannar harbor and they also send a messenger asking for the peaceful transfer of power.
King has a dilemma; he has two powerful pretenders, one from south India, another from south SL preparing to attack him. He has many choices
1.       Fight Indian invaders first because they are closer to the capitol
2.       Fight pretender from our south first
3.       Divide his forces and fight both at the same time
4.       Surrender to one of them
5.       Flee
He is smarter than that . he sends a reply to Thissa, our own pretender and tells him
“Country is yours, but you have to defeat the Indian army to crown yourself”
Thissa is not as smart as the king I suppose, he takes his army and fights the invaders somewhere between Mannar and Anuradhapura, defeated by them and killed. Usual fate of the leaders who take prophesies too seriously.  Now the invaders, weakened by the battle with Thissa, are marching towards capitol. King takes a stand at Kolombalaka, just north of capitol. Even with the weakened army invaders beat  Gamin  Abaya . King flees in a horse cart which is overloaded to the brim.
In the royal carriage he has
1. His foremost queen, Anula Devi , who was his elder brother, the previous king’s  wife, before he died
2. His own wife Soma Devi
3. Prince Mahacula, previous king’s son
4. Prince Mahanaga, his own son  
The Indian invaders are chasing the royal horse carriage. Enemy on the heel , King must make a decision fast , surrender or lighten the cart so that he can move faster. In warfare those days surrendering is sure death.
 So he has no dilemma in deciding what to do, He decided to lighten the load to make a less burden to the horses.
 But next decision is a as difficult a dilemma as any person would have faced in human history. He has to decide who should be sacrificed to marauding enemy from whom no mercy can be expected.  So what does he do?  He stops the vehicle and in sight of the enemy at heel, let Soma Devi, his own wife descend from the car with his diadem jewel and speed up.
After that its stuff that legends are made of. King hides in the jungle moving from one cave to another, including Dambulla and many in mountains, raises an army, come back to Anuradhapura and retake his kingdom after 14 years.
 Soma Devi’s fate was not tragic one as one would expect . One of the south Indian leaders “fired with passion for lovely soma Devi “ when he saw her after getting down from the cart, apparently left for India with her, , perhaps with other material booties that was due to him from their adventure.  He was in such a hurry to leave he didn’t try his hand at governance of the conquered land like his other friends.

After regaining his kingdom king make a deal with the leader who took soma Devi to India and brings her back, after about 15 long years, reinstates her into her former status , 2nd queen, and builds a temple too in her name, the Somaramaya.

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