Friday, August 28, 2015

The price of an empire

Did you know Akihito happens to be the only monarch who still refers to himself as an emperor? Bhumibol Adulyadej might be the longest serving king but then he's just a king. And Elizabeth II is on the verge of creating history in two weeks' time by becoming the longest reigning British monarch ever. But then, again, she's just a queen. An emperor is a much bigger denomination. Which is why i found a recent comment rather misinformed. Somebody called Aurangzeb a mass murderer—arguing that he doesn't deserve to be remembered or commemorated—conveniently forgetting that he was an emperor. And if one takes even a glimpse of history—no matter how muddled or misinterpreted—it's more than enough to understand no emperor can claim exoneration from the tag of a mass murderer. Be it Ashoka or Alexander or Genghis Khan or Charlemagne or Akbar or Musa or Shaka, each one of them killed and then some more to ensure that they remained the emperor of their times. They were no different from Aurangzeb even if one brings the religious angle into picture. At the end of the long day, people were killed for power's sake.

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