Let me tell you two stories from mythology.
|Krishna atop Kaliya|
When Lord Krishna was young, during his stay in Vrindavan, he and his friends used to go to play in the banks of the river Yamuna. Around that time, the water of the river was poisoned due to the presence of a deadly naga, known as Kaliya. Nobody could use the waters of the river and all marine life was either dead or driven away due to the poison of Kaliya. Kaliya was a ten headed snake and had been driven away from its home with his family due to its enmity with Garuda, the traditional enemy of all serpents. Once, Krishna while playing near the banks of the river, jumped into the river to fetch a ball which had fallen in the river, which to the onlookers seemed nothing less than suicidal. Deep in the river bed, the boy Krishna challenged the serpent which resulted in a battle between the unequal’s – i.e. the boy Krishna and the mighty ten headed snake. But soon the divine Krishna overpowered the snake and on the request of Kaliya’s wives, allowed them to go alive from there, but not before the people of Vrindavan saw the boy Krishna dance atop the hooded Kaliya.
|A Vase painting of Hecules slaying the Hydra|
The other story is from the Greek myth of Hercules and his adventures. As part of the adventure, Hercules had to undergo twelve tasks and this story pertains to his second task. According to this myth, Hercules had to kill a water serpent with many heads, known as Hydra, which was threatening the nearby villagers. Hercules was the son of Zeus and one of his mortal lovers, while the Hydra was the result of the mating between a monster and a creature which was half snake and half woman. The major difficulty in killing the hydra was that if one of its head was cut, then two more would grow in its place, and one of the heads was immortal. To cut short the adventure, Hercules managed to kill the many headed monstrous snake by scorching the stump of the snake after cutting off each head before two could grow out there. Finally the immortal head was cut off with a golden sword and the same was put under a giant boulder, so that it could never raise its head again.
Both the stories have a few things common and that is the many headed snake raising its hood to harass people and that it needed heroes to either control or kill them, both to eliminate the threat to mankind. Both the stories, details the acts of heroism and the battle of unequal. Both the animals were powerful and poisonous and in the earlier case the hero was a boy and in the second case, the hero was a mere mortal (though aided with divine intervention).
Both these stories, though from different cultures, have a bearing on today. Today a fragile old man is fighting the menace of a many headed monster whose name is no more Kaliya or Hydra, but Corruption. The hero is not as divine as Krishna or as heroic as Hercules, but a frail old man with no bearings or trappings of a hero, rather a rustic simpleton called Anna Hazare. His war against corruption is not going to be what Krishna faced in Yamuna or Hercules faced in a mythical island. His war is tougher – what with the heads of the monster having spread all over the country. If he slays one, many come up elsewhere. If he tries to cut off one head, all the other heads come and hold him with ten times more power than earlier. The modern Hydra has thousands of heads and a lonely Hazare or his immediate circle of friends cannot to the mighty task. It is a battle of unimaginable inequality. He needs all of us, from every nook and corner of the country to support him and stand by him. Hazaare needs hazzaron (thousands) hands to kill the monster.
Come one, come all and support the crusade against corruption. Let’s leave a clean country for our children. Let’s cleanse the Vrindavan of the poison spewed by the many headed monster called corruption perpetrated by the very people whom we have entrusted with governance, both past and present.