M2: Vaikunth prelude. What went wrong?

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“Maharaj… Maharaj?”Shivchandra’s meditative stance was broken by a heavy coarse voice that sounded a reverb even more with a gushing wind. 

“Huh? Oh… Mayant! So you have come”said a startled Shivchandra turning towards the commanding general of the Bramhakush army. Mayant, who was also known as Senapati Ashtabal, was in charge of the entire armed force and police of Bramhakush. He earned his name as Ashtabal or a person who knew all 8 warfare techniques known to mankind in the Aryan Habitat. He was believed to be the only one who had mastered all 8. Not even Maharaja Shivchandra was blessed with such prowess. Not only was Mayanat a fearsome warrior, he was also an intelligent strategist. It was rumored that he had never lost a fight in his life. Although one could see signs of ageing, the muscular almost 7ft tall frame was enough to scare away anyone who dared to attack. Some said Mayant had too much say in the internal matters of Bramhakush. No one dared to speak out. Because he was not just the commanding general, but also a childhood friend of Maharaja Shivchandra.


“Huh? Oh… Mayant! So you have come?

“Yes Maharaj”

“Why do you keep calling me Maharaj? Mayant? We are friends, aren’t we?”

“Indeed. But right now, a general is talking to his King.”

“I see… so let me also call you Ashtabal. Tell me, Senapati… what news from the capital?”

“Not bad. The army has recuperated well after this battle. New animals have been recruited. Policing is increased to keep an eye on aftershocks. Things are rather holding well. No sign of any revolt. But…”

“But? But what Senapati?”

“Well… I can take care of the law and order. But I don’t make policies for the kingdom. I have no access to the tax collection or their spend. And not that I have interest, but there have been irregular activities in the art & culture field… too many toys coming up. Sukirti is…”

“Oh, common Mayant… Sukirti is an able man. He is my brother. Don’t mistake him for a horse master.  Yes his ideas are different from mine, but he loves Bramhakush as much as you do.” Said Shivchandra in a dismissive tone and started looking back across the river Sattvi. The royal court of Kansar on the embankment of the river, which was completely distroyed during the war, was being rebuilt. But the new structure was no match to the beauty and finesse of the Kansaras. Shivchandra sighed after a momentary silence. 

“Look at this Mayant… see what we have done. Only if I would have known that the source of our information was not legitimate. I would have avoided this destruction.”

“No Maharaj… our source was correct. The Pindharis had indeed infiltrated the city. They had climbed down the mountain wall. They were planning a full scale war. They were disguised. We hardly had any time to distinguish. Besides, their next target could have been us, this Kaumudi region was vulnerable… We did the right thing.”

“I have my doubts. I inspected the remains of their barracks myself. Pindharis were under prepared. They may have been planning a guerrilla attack, may be. But they had not come for war, at least not with us. We could have defended the river and sent a batch our elite soldiers to free up Kaachi. A frontal attack could have been avoided. See what we have done… we defeated and relegated the Pindharis. But in the process, we killed hundreds of Kansaras, including the royal family.” said Shivchandra, looking back at the royal court again with dejection. Mayant stood his ground. He was absorbing every word of his King. But it didn’t matter to him. The displaced Kansaras or the dead royal family was hardly one of his worries. He wanted Kansar to be a part of Bramhakush. Not only it was prosperous, it was also strategically located. It gave Bramhakush a supreme power over the river Sattvi. The whole of Kansar could become a trade hub. They could earn lacs of gold coins just by trading agriculture and livestock. He could now allow the northern kingdoms to use the route for trade for a hefty fee. Besides, he could now trade the water. All he had to do was to convince Shivchandra to let him build the dam.

“The people our land are missing you Maharaj. You must return to Vishala.” he said. But the king did not respond. He was still looking across the river towards the royal court and far beyond towards a new city under construction. He had decided to rebuild Kaachi and rename it Vaikunth. For he considered it heavenly. While he had lit the pyre of Namandev and Naini Devi himself, he could not find their son Ripudaman. He just prayed the young prince had survived.   

Somewhere near the bottom of the mountain

Even though it was summer, the boy was shivering. An year had passed, but he was still not over it. A frail looking but strong lady wrapped a blanket around him. She was dressed like a man. She handed him a heavy bundle, which the boy could not balance and felled on ground.

“What is this?” he asked in a low voice

“They are weapons of your father, Suketu”

“We are just two of us, mausi. Can you not call me…”

“No! Get used to it. One day, I will teach you how to wield a sword. And many other things. You will reach your destiny… one day. But not now. That beast still stands guard.”

Looking away from the weapons wrapped in a thick black cloth, Suketu pointlessly started out of the cave house. The sun was going down, light was waning. He didn’t know if he had any hope.

to be continued…

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M1-Vaikunth: The beginning

Image Courtesy Meera Walawalkar

Year 298 of the third age. Northern Aryan Habitat

Summer season had started. Yet, it was a pleasant evening in the northern most area of Bramhakush, the mighty kingdom ruled by Maharaja Shivchandra. Birds were returning back to their nests, a warm yet soothing breeze was blowing across a vast balcony of the Koumudi bhavan, where the Maharaja was standing. This fortress, which was built to protect the northern borders from potential attacks and invasions via the river route, was now being transformed into a retreat house for the ministers of Shivchandra. It had recently witnessed one of the most fiercest battles in the history of Bramhakush. Shivchandra, who lead the battle himself, was standing and looking pointlessly at the dilapidated and mutilated ruins of the levee near the banks of the river Sattvi. They were a stark contrast to the beautiful blue and green river flowing across the kingdom, literally slicing the land in parts by its mighty flow. Overlooking the vast expanse of Sattvi was a small, yet a beautiful kingdom of Kansar, which was now a part of Bramhakush.

But Shivchandra did not defeat the Kansaras. Not in his wildest dreams he would have thought of burning, felling and destroying a city that was once the cynosure of every living being in the Aryan Habitat. Raja Namandev was his friend. However the Pindharis left him with no choice.  

One year ago

Kaachi, a city that was the epitome of beauty snugly resting in the laps of a mountain, protected and nurtured by the mighty Sattvi river. Kaachi was the capital city of Kansar, ruled with utter surety by Raja Namandev and Rani Nainidevi, a small yet beautiful and prosperous kingdom. It was spread across the banks of Sattvi river, whose silt plains made it an extremely fertile region. Kansar had vast farmlands and grew almost every vegetable that was possibly cultivated in the Aryan Habitat. even though small and prosperous, Kaachi had hardly faced open war. The city was built in such a way that one side it had large plains, which were used to cultivate crops. Then there was the vast bank of Sattvi river, who turned and meandered again protecting the city from 2 sides. So if an enemy attacked, he would turn out to be a sitting duck for the archers on the high walls of the palace. Besides, Kansar maintained a fleet of ships that were designed to row against the flow of the river. Their armour had large spikes that could easily pierce enemy boats. Due to the current, enemy’s navigation capabilities would be seriously challenged. The city was protected by the tall, rocky mountain standing guard against any one who dared to climb up. Namandev had sledged the whole side of the mountain to prevent movement of any man or vehicle on the face of it. While Kansar did not have a fearful army, the city was virtually impregnable. Yet… Kaachi fell that day.

It was Kartiki Purnima, the day on which Kansara sanskrutik samaroh culminated in a large citywide parade followed by a ball and gala dinner in the open fields. While Namandev did not maintain a large army, possibly he never thought of doing so, he did invest a lot in art and culture. The streets of Kaachi were adorned with beautiful statues, carved stone monuments and many other art works. It housed many museum that exhibited artifacts, rare paintings and gifts received by the kings. The city had more than 100 schools that imparted various knowledge forms to students who came to seek. It attracted students from far north as well as down south for as far as Aryan Habitat was spread. Thousands of people lived and prospered there. Kansara Sanskrutik Samaroh was the week long platform that Namandev provided to showcase almost any talent a man or a woman could posses. The king invited participants and guests from all kingdoms across the habitat. Whole week the city saw scores of royal entourage adorning the streets along with the exhibitors and performers who would come for the event. However there was an exception. Namandev dutifully avoided the Pindharis.

Pindhar was a kingdom on he other side of the mountain, ruled by PindRaj II. Due to their location, being in the rain shadow zone, the country a received rainfall barely sufficient enough to water their crops and recharge the ground. A drought always loomed every alternate year.The rocky nature of the soil meant their cultivation option too were limited. So the Pindharis switched to being carnivorous being. Years of adversity had pushed them to such an extent, people rumored that they would even eat man flesh, if need be. Pindharis were termed barbaric, and for no small reason. They were jealous of their prosperous and beautiful neighbors who they accused of depriving resources meant for the Pindharis. 2 generations ago, Pindraj 1 had proposed a dam on the Sattvi river so that the water could be equally distributed among both regions. However it was not easy as the river was too big. Besides if anything went wrong, it risked a terrible flood in Kansar. Namandev’s grandfather Chandrabhan had flatly refused the young Pindhari king. Furious, he attacked Kansar. A battle was fought on the mountain slopes and on the river. But Kansar’s geographical advantage could not be undone. Finally, he agreed for a compromise to build a canal that rounded the mountain and helped Pindharis gain some access to water from Sattvi. But it depended heavily on the river flow. So when Sattvii swelled during the rainy season, the canal had enough water. So the rest of the year, Pindharis still struggled. As a result, every Pindhari hated a Kansara for robbing them off their right. Pindharis loss made them weak. But they never forgave and never forgot.

to be continued…