The king who sign his own death warrant
Once there were two people, and they were the best of friends. As they grew older and older, eventually they were separated by the course of nature. As years passed by, One became a king of a wealthy and prosperous kingdom. The other one however became a wandering traveler.
The traveler one day visited the king’s domain. He remembered the king as his old youth friend. Purpose of his coming was nothing less and nothing more than just visiting and remembering the good old days accompanied with some ale. He remembers the governor’s favorite ale and brought the ale with him.
“Halt !” says the guard at the palace gate. “I am the king’s old friend, I have brought ales to cherish our good old times with him” says the traveler. Then the guard replied, “Well then, I must confirm this 1st to his majesty the king, pardon me sire, as no one is allowed to meet with the king unless one that has importance to him”. “Yes, that is not a problem, please confirm with the king, that I am Drona, his old best friend”.
As the King heard the news from the gate guard, he remembers the traveler as his once best friend. However he did not answer the guard as of yet. His thoughts were filled with questions.
“What does he want”
“I am very certain that he has more than an ale and a discussion about old times”
“what will people think if they look at me talking with a common man”
“If he talks about the good old days, then he will most likely talk about my past, and everyone will know about my past as a young man…”
“guard !” says the king. “yes your majesty” replied the guard. “Tell him that I have never known tor knew the name Drona, as I have spent my youth alone with no friend like him. He must have mistaken me for someone else” says the king.
The guard rushed at the gate and told the traveler exactly what the king told him. ” There must be some kind of a mistake, your king’s name is Sucitra is it not?” asked the traveler. The guard was a bit confused as for him the king’s name is Drupada. The traveler noticed the guard’s confusion and said ,” Sucitra was your king’s childhood name, please confirm with him again”
The King was shocked when the guard rushed in the palace and ask the question about the childhood name to him. Indeed the king’s childhood name was “Sucitra” however the king said to the guard,”I know nothing of that name, please do whatever is necessary to make him go away”. The guard then rushed back to the gate to make the traveler go away.
The traveler however kept on trying to reason with the guard in which the guard was very loyal to the king. Somehow the traveler was able to slip through the palace gate and rushed on to the palace. There he saw the king sitting on a dining table with his family. “Sucitra.. don’t you remember me? I am your friend from childhood”.
The king was furious, “You are a traveler and a beggar, I have no knowledge of you being my childhood friend, You dare to come here and humiliate me in front of my family and claiming to be my friend?”. The traveler replied, “What are you afraid of Sucitra? afraid that I might tell nonsense about your youth? afraid that I’ve come here for money? no Sucitra, I am here as just an old friend visiting…”.
“Guards !!” yelled the king, “Take him away and make sure do what is necessary to make him learn not to go back to this palace”. The guards dragged the traveler then beat him up until every single part of his body is filled with bruises, then he says out loud, “Hear this Sucitra, when in time there is a battle, I will be on the opposite side, making sure of your death. The death of a person who forget his history over a fear of loosing dignity”. Then the guards threw him to the streets….
This story is re-told by me not in the original version of the Mahabharata (in which Drona came to the palace with his son). One who intentionally forget his history is the same as the one who sign his own death warrant.
note: Drupada was killed by Drona several years after their last encounter at the Pancala castle. Drupada was Pandava’s ally as Drona was the acting supreme commander of the Hastina forces (replacing the unavailability of the previous supreme commander ~ Bhisma).