They say stay close to your friends and closer to your enemies. But the irony is we often fail to recognize who is who for us. Blame it on the complexly intertwined concepts of loyalty and betrayal in the present world.
Here’s a quick thought. There was Mumbai, the then Bombay, with rich oil reserves and a favorable coastal line to augment business interests. There was Delhi. Centrally placed, easily accessible from across India, a highly sought after nodal point to mediate internal and external diplomatic traffic. However, the British chose geographically relatively isolated Calcutta to establish The East India Company and start off their political, economic and cultural invasion of the Indian Empire spanning over four million square kilometers. Calcutta is still the true Victorian city. It bore the brunt of British looting and gradually withered in later years of British imperialism. Ever wondered why the British had their initial yet strongest foothold in Calcutta of all Indian cities? All because one person put a price tag on loyalty, traded his selfish interests with the freedom of Mother India.
In 1756, when King George II commanded Major-General Robert Clive to spot the ideal fertile land for establishing a trading company with ulterior motives, the shrewd British informants found an apt candidate to crack an entry. Mir Jafar. The disloyal Army Chief of Siraj Ud Daulah, the then Nawab of Bengal. On offering the prospect of being the next Nawab of Bengal, Mir Jafar kept aback the entire left wing of Bengal Army comprising 15000 infantry, 35000 cavalry and 59 field pieces idle. The figuratively handicapped army, without any lateral protection or a commander succumbed to a trivial British force of just 2100 infantry and 6 field pieces. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Nawab, who was oblivious to the treachery brewing around him, Jafar devised and designed the whole military operation of Bengal Army in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. He thus ensured the surety of British victory in the battle, killing hundreds of Indian Army men. Needless to say, this paved way to the very first establishment of East India Company in Calcutta and the rest of British domination is history.
Life often puts us in this difficult situation when we have to choose between gains and loyalty. But, in sooth, such a situation becomes a difficulty only because we consider loyalty to be one of many choices. It is never a choice. Loyalty is a necessity, it should rather be the central axis of our virtues. Betrayal may, sometimes, be the easier route to momentary gains. But staying true to our words, deeds, peers and leaders can definitely give us lasting results. Moreover, momentary gains only make us obliged to unworthy forces. We grew up hearing stories of Casabianca and Japanese Samurais; of Hanuman and Karna. It is of no doubt that the indispensable virtue of loyalty is deep rooted within us. It is just a matter of discovering it within us and hold on to it tight, irrespective of any persuasions and hurdles. Believe in ourselves, stand by virtuous principles, and be loyal to causes of nobility. The one single thing that cannot be compromised in our voyages in Science. Rewards will certainly come searching for us.