Can history teach us how to face betrayal and rise above it? Getting betrayed is among the hardest-to-digest experiences in life. Can we draw inspiration from real historical stories? Here is one from Historical Fiction (based on facts though). “Yavana Rani” or “The Greek Queen“, is a novel that traces King Karikalan’s rise to the throne.
Here are 6 things one can take up as inspiration.
1) Running away does not necessarily make you a coward
The novel is based on the period about 2000 years ago when Karikala Chola comes to power (The one who built Kallanai, the oldest dam still in use today in the world). He has to flee for his life after his father; King Illamcetcenni is killed in a conspiracy and the 12 minor chieftains under his kingdom join up with rival kingdoms of the Cheras and Pandyas.
2)You can start from scratch
He did not remain in hiding for nothing. He gathered an army much smaller than the Confederacy of Chera, Pandya armies, and the twelve minor chieftains. In the historic battle of Venni (which is now Kovilvenni, near Tanjore) secures a glorious victory bringing the enemy’s large army to the ground.
3) Observe your enemy and the situation and look for weaknesses
Karikalan’s Commander in the story- Ilanchezhian states that they cannot win over a large army if they march and advance to enemy’s fort. Instead, he lays a plan to draw them to the battlefield.
4) Think differently, do not be put down by your wounds
They attack and destroy croplands of enemy territory and chase away its people. This angers the enemy and draws him to the location of their choice- Venni. Soldiers of Karikalan’s army mix up with the commoners of the croplands and enter enemy territory for a surprise attack. Karikalan’s commander also plots a clever battle formation of an “eagle”. It is a battle formation with soldiers positioned vertically like the body of an eagle plus two hidden army wings in the forests left and right of the enemy. The enemy’s battle formation being a semicircular “serpent’s body“. All they had to do was to separate and attack the “The head” and “The tail” of the “serpent” which would weaken the entire opponent strategy. This idea worked for them like a charm.
5)You can fight treachery with treachery
Karikalan also begins battle before sunrise, attacking in the dark (Which is not allowed). He advances their armies forward long before dawn, leaving behind the lanterns and torches stuck on the ground. Imagine a man leaving his car with headlights on but snooping forward towards you in the dark! Confusion in the enemy’s army follows, which our hero uses to his full advantage. Treachery meets treachery.
6) Size does not matter-strategy does
Finally, he brings them face-down. The Chera King later commits suicide. Karikalan lays the foundation for a new generation of successful Cholas and marries Velir Princess Alli (Possibly after a war in history). Similarly, in the battle of Guagamela, Alexander the Great brought down a much larger army of Persian king Darius III using an odd and smart army strategy.
Another untold lesson from Karikalan–
Fix the gory image of war
He builds the grand Kallanai across flourishing river Cauvery, an achievement of his period that stands till day (fortified by the British to make the 2000-year-old dam stand firm).