Life Lessons from Ancient Rulers: Old Wisdom for Modern Era

Indian history stands testimony to the bravery and wisdom of several rulers. While some stood against time to create their own niche place in ancient scriptures and artworks, there are others  who stand immemorial in the pages of history books and in the minds of young minds. While their valour is known to all these rulers demonstrated values that are relevant in the modern era and set strong examples for the youth. We list a few of the exemplary traits and life lessons our most popular rulers exhibited that stand relevant till day. 

1. Akbar – Cherish Diversity and Intelligence

The third and the most powerful Mughal Emperor of India not just valued but celebrated Diversity. Aware of his subjects being from different faiths and cultures, he did not mandate or force his religion on the masses. This move earned him the love and admiration that no other emperor could boast of.

Akbar was known to appreciate knowledge and host a court that was graced by the best artisans, counselors and administrators, together known as the ‘Navratnas’. He demonstrated leadership qualities that enabled equal opportunity to others to hone their talent and never shy away from learning. 

2. Ashoka – Self Reformation and Equal Law for All

The famous Mauryan emperor’s conquests were rivaled only by the imperial Mughals and the British. However, it’s not his conquests but unusually humane behavior that has him inked in history. The widespread bloodshed in Kalinga post the war had Ashoka renunciate war and adopt Buddhism, promoting peace. His power of self-introspection and ability to replicate his beliefs in the masses is commendable.

Ashoka’s four-decade rule emphasized on equality, setting up one of the first welfare states in ancient India that had equal laws and punishments for its subjects. The emperor took great interest in the welfare of his populace, spending state funds on developing/improving the lives of his people. 

3. Tipu Sultan – Courage and Bravery 

The Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan was the only Indian ruler to understand the danger British rule posed on India and fought four wars against them. During the 4th Anglo-Mysore War, his army of 30,000 men was under the siege of the British army, that had a strength of 50,000. Though he was given a secret passage to escape he chose to fight. His brave words, “It is far better to live like a tiger for a day than to live like a jackal for a hundred years” resonated till day. 

4. Rani Lakshmi Bai Valour and Wit

Manikarnika, the queen of Jhansi fought several battles, a few against the British and another few at her personal level. Born at a time when women were mere royal beauties, she encouraged women to become warriors, training them in war forms. As the queen, she raged a war against the British despite limited machinery and resources. It was her wit and sacrifice of her loyal army that helped her escape her son from the battleground. The legend is known for her valour and superior leadership skills and is often an example of fearlessness. 

5. Sultan Razia – Women Empowerment

The story of Delhi Sultanate’s only female ruler is an inspiration for every girl. Trained in various skills such as warfare, diplomacy and administration, Razia fought all odds and proved herself as the rightful heir, claiming the throne back from her brother. She exhibited a true example of a monarch who is democratically elected and had the courage to give her subjects the right to depose her anytime they found her unfit as a ruler. A true example of women empowerment she is known for her fair judgement and wisdom. 

6. Ravana – Knowledge and Honour

It’s Dussehra and this king deserves a rightful place when it comes to valour and knowledge. A stout devotee of Lord Shiva; a scholar and master of sciences and astrology; an extraordinary musician and excellent warrior; Ravana was far more than just an evil ruler. An expert in the Vedas and Shastras, Ravana had Rama himself urged his brother, Lakshmana to extract some wisdom from the dying ruler. Even on his deathbed, Ravana imparted knowledge to Lakshman. Being intellectual makes even your enemies want to learn from you. A true brahmin, Ravana also helped Rama arrange a yagya organized for his own defeat and blessed the Ayodhya heir and his army. 

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