All roads in India lead to Rome…

Published on Times of India on 22nd March 2011 –, the mighty city was once the seat of autocratic power for the famous Gaius Julius Caesar. Caesar, an able statesman and General led Rome from strength to strength during his halcyon era. Caesar was a pivotal force of the Roman Empire, in control of several legions, was at the helm of many military adventures and amassed wealth of staggering proportions. At one stage, Caesar appointed himself as dictator for life and also anointed himself as “Prefect of the morals”. But, there always remained a gnawing problem for him, the Gauls, the tribe that Caesar spent a fair share of his time keeping at bay. The Gallic wars were bloody and Plutarch claims at least a million died and around three million were enslaved. All roads led to Rome under the great Roman Empire in the metaphorical sense and in the literal sense. There was no hyperbole. The vast area that was under the Roman rule was staggering.

In today’s day and age, here in India, ironically all roads still lead to Rome. Not much has changed from 49BC. We are still hailing the Roman Empire and we have firmly placed the laurel wreath on the head of Roman. All roads within India circumnavigate or lead straight to this seat of absolute power. Democracy is but a sham in our country, the powers have been snatched from the people and it now resides with the Caesar of our times, the new age Caesar living at 10, Janpath. This Caesar commands legions that have looted and plundered its own people mercilessly. There is however a logical fallacy in the style of governance with this Caesar. Unlike the Caesar of 49 BC who invaded foreign territories and kept external invasions at bay, this Caesar is the de facto commander of legions that are highly specialized in internal invasions. Somewhere from 7, Racecourse road, a tired, old soldier watches every proceeding motionlessly. It appears like he is not directly participating in the invasions but he is naturally expected to bear the moral responsibility of his troops. There is a well-lit, cobbled path from Racecourse to Janpath and this lonely, tired, veteran soldier limps back and forth on it slowly, unsure of his steps, trying to find his way in the dark. Like the enchanting Grimm’s fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, the soldier tries to leave some breadcrumbs on the cobbled path. Alas, the scavengers loot the crumbs too.

And like the Gauls, there is an opposition that tries to curb the Roman incursion. It is trying in vain to retire the old soldier and the legions. And as of now, to no avail. The legions and the Commander have no moral conscience. The only thing that matters to them is to fill up the treasure chest at the expense of the people and at the expense of progress of this civilization. A bearded Bootstrap Bill from the buccaneer brigade has siphoned off the commonwealth of the people that was meant to organize gladiatorial contests at the colosseum. Another of seemingly docile and gentle character from the south of the Vindhyas, dressed in a pristine white toga rode over a dual spectrum and created a revenue loss of staggering proportions. Domus meant for the widows of war have been seized by the Roman Generals. Each member of the legion shouting to the other, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears, when in Rome, do as we Romans do – Loot”.

And the people of this civilization wait for that gallant and a figment of the imagination “Ben-Hur” to appear on a Quadriga and save them from the clutches of this tyrannical empire. I cannot hear the sound of hooves and neither do I see any dust rising in the distance. What is the option that we the people have? Do we blame ourselves for electing a set of un-scrupulous legions to control us? Even if we choose to exercise our vote carefully, is the only option we have is but a group of infighting Gauls to rule us? In a country of a billion plus Indians, we are still searching for an able, true blooded, healthy Indian. At this stage of our civilization, does the one who is least infected by the common plague called “corruption” preferred? It is almost impossible to find anyone who is uninfected by this disease. For now, the Prefect of the morals seems to have this country in its clutches and releases a new coin after every successful internal conquest. The Prefect is finely handling the Brutus’s and the Cassius’s with remarkable elegance and there is no conspiracy in sight to oust the Prefect from power. We need no soothsayer to say that it is but the ides of March everyday for the good people of this civilization, and we continue to be stabbed


20 Responses to “All roads in India lead to Rome…”

  1. […] Published on Times of India on 22nd March 2011 –, the mighty city was once the seat of autocratic power for the famous Gaius Julius Caesar. Caesar, an able statesman and General led Rome from strength to strength during his halcyon era. Caesar was a pivotal force of the Roman Empire, in control of several legions, was at the helm of many military advent … Read More […]

  2. Sharmila,

    The article is bold and provocative but fails to inspire lazy ones like me into action.

    On a public platform like TOI you are likely to enjoy the attention of several types of readers:

    There are pathological readers who will ask for evidences or references for every word you write. There are reactive readers whose hindsight only gives them another view but it does not change their opinions. There are calculative readers who are on the page only for bottom lines or end lines.

    There are proactive ones who empathize but wait for the writer to think of a way forward.

    Finally, there are generative or creative readers who search for inspirations.

    Inspiration from an article is not a standard requirement but it is part of the expectations of muddle-headed readers like me.

    At some point of the journey as a blogger, you may need to decide what sort of readership you prefer. It does not fix you on the platform but at least it relieves you from talking to the air.


    On the post above:

    While on the roads and in the markets amidst crowds of moving people, I have asked myself several times: What makes these people do whatever they are doing? Does anything matter to them? What drives them into action? What do they want? Do they really belong to a society, a state or a nation? What does belonging mean to these people?

    From each according to his ability to each according to his needs. said Karl Marx in Das Capitale. In his doctrine, each person would work according to his ability and be rewarded by the state according to his needs. Which means, if a surgeon is a bachelor he stays in a single room with a ration card and a bell boy with 10 children gets a farm of 100 acres; both the surgeons room and the bell boy’s farm belong to the State. Its obvious why this model failed.

    Karl Marx had never been to India. If he had seen this place he might have re-written the entire script.

    People here don’t work for a cooperative society or a politburo or the state.

    People here are driven their dharma, both individually and in groups. For some of them this dharma means duty, for some it means a ritual or a law or destiny and for many others it means righteousness.

    Karl Marx had no clue about dharma.

    This dharma is a sort-of conditioning that is spun into the social fabric like a dye that covers individual threads. It is not a Sanskrit scriptural premise as one would like to believe. It is embedded into every belief, every doctrine, every religion and every social structure in different languages, different words and different motifs.

    In financial jargon, this dharma is the soothsayer between the price of an effort and its situational value.

    The price of an effort may be fixed by the buyer or by the enforcement. The value of an effort is decided entirely by the individual himself.

    This is where the mischief of dharma manifests in all its colorful ugliness.

    Here is how it works:

    A poor man feels rich by calmly separating physical needs and spiritual contentment even though he pays for both in real cash. Disappointments are written off under the head of Karma, God’s Will or social accountability.

    A rich man feels poor by dissociating his joy from his wealth. He fears failures and he fears death. He seeks divine powers but settles for social governance. At some point of time he has already decided that happiness is a myth.

    In short, civilisations will come and civilisations will go but there will never be one Ideal that fits all.

    Ideals are not for masses. Ideals are of an individual, for an individual by an individual – like democracy. They can be discussed and disseminated. They cannot be imposed. The buy-in process is an entirely individual transaction.

    The opposite of the buy-in process is a complete sell-out!

    That’s what your post is about for me. The complete sell-out of all native ideals to a non-descript evil ideology.

    Evil like this does not breed by itself. It is handsomely supported by some good believers. Duryodhana’s evil designs were supported by great teachers and warriors like Dronacharya and Bhishma.

    Who could challenge the good characters of Bhishma and Karna? They were supremely ethical and righteous. Their nations stood by them and even destroyed themselves in that epic war.

    Sonio and her team has the same set-up. The brits did the same during their empire. Their rule was accepted by a few benevolent souls among the natives on whose credibility and goodwill they pillaged the commonwealth.

    The way forward is an anti-establishment rebellion by each individual for himself. Check your premises. Check the value of your effort. Do not add any value that cannot be translated into real worth. Damn the mystics.

    Your wife or child and family smile at the joy that you bring home each day. That is not the value of the money you earn. You know that. Their joy is in you. You are the value. Preserve it. Do not sacrifice that value in the name of a society, a community or a nation. You are a value. It is for you to preserve. Do not share it or sacrifice it for all and sundry. Choose those who deserve your effort. Set your own personal standards and ethics. You’ll be surprised with the outcome.

    You’ll discover that the world does not deserve a better you so much as you deserve a better world.

  3. Reader – To be honest, I dont worry about what type of readership my blogs attract. I allow myself to write what comes to my mind. My writings may or may not inspire people, because the intention has never been so. So long as what I write is enoyed, digested, reflected on, it should suffice for me. Besides, every person has a unoqie expectation, it would be foolhardy to cater to that. When I write my first book, even then, I may not be able to move it off the shelves, I shall live with it happily! 🙂
    BTW, where are you now??

  4. I meant unique expectation.. using my old laptop.

  5. Aishwarya Says:


    What irks us the most?
    The governing system. The infrastructure. The corruption. The amassed wealth of the politicians. The skyrocketing prices of commodities. Or,
    The reins in the hands of a foreigner?

    Identifying the problem is half a problem solved. Is it the ‘Venus flytrap’? Uproot it. Shoo off the ‘flies’ that offer themselves as meal. Scram. Buzz off. Perish.

    We are turning organic. In the best interests of our nation.



  6. Sharmila,

    I am at The Residency on the Richmond Road in BLR. I haven’t received your address for the courier service to send you a copy of the book.


    • Will email it you.. looking forward to the book now.. My logic on philopsophy is badly rusted, the book should be a step in the right direction for me..

  7. Sharmila,

    I never assumed that you or anyone writes for a readership.

    The readership, and all the noise that goes with it, is a natural fallout of the process.

    Its like our ears that have no choice about what they hear, but we can definitely decide what we want to listen to.

  8. Sharmila,

    Inspiration from the content of a blog post can be an expectation of a few readers, surely not a specification for the writer.

    I have noticed that the writer of the post is primarily inspired by the topic of the post. In most cases this serves adequately as a minimum recipe for a good post.

    There is no rule that the post should fire the imaginations of the readers. After all its a blog post, not a campaign.

  9. Sharmila,

    Explanation to a line in my first comment:

    That’s what your post is about for me. The complete sell-out of all native ideals to a non-descript evil ideology.

    This is misleading. It seems like I am talking about your opinion in the post which is not the case.

    I am talking about the subject of the post. The sell-out of the ideals of the native Indian to the evil ideology imported from the west.

  10. This comment has nothing to do with this article. I am just writing as i thought its interesting to share with you guys.

    Check out Sujata Anandan’s article here

    She has lashed out at all the commentators who go from blog to blog on HT and criticise the bloggers and their Congress bias. She naturally copped it once again in the comments section.

    • Lol.. thanks for this, the comments section were really interesting, People who comment most times know what they are talking about. High handedness can be dealt with by so called trolls. You cannot isolate the cash for vote game to vindicate the Congress.

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