Traitors, Betrayals and Siblings' Rivalry

All our epics, movies and stories have two characters, one hero and one villain. Hero is good and villain is bad. They are enemies. Enemy is someone whom you know very well that he would do everything against you. The epics and stories have also given an important place for traitors. Who is a traitor? How is he different from the enemy? Unlike enemy, the traitor is your own person who unexpectedly turned against you some day. The one that changed his side midway! He would have also become your enemy after that. At first, he is your traitor and then he becomes your primary enemy, more enemy than your enemy himself. What makes the traitors so special? They give the unexpected twist to the story. The story changes its course from that moment, which requires whole new approach, planning and strategizing. You don’t know much about your enemy, but you know very well about your traitor because he was your own man. On the other hand, your enemy didn’t know much about you, but has got good amount of information about you after your traitor changed side. These guys change side for many reasons. We as audience look at the big picture and take a side, but for them there may be various compulsions to take such a decision.

Brutus’s is the most well known betrayal in the world history. Every kingdom in history has a lot of betrayal stories to tell. Our epics Ramayana and Mahabharata have also talked about it in great detail. Our politicians do that on a daily basis. As I am writing this piece at this very minute, more than ten legislators who were part of our state government few days ago are planning in a closed room jointly with their erstwhile enemies (friends before that) to topple the government in another few days. When they came to this side a couple of years back, what they had done was also betrayal. In addition to betraying their own parties, they have been consistently betraying their people for time immemorial. Even in the Sri Lankan civil war, it is strongly contested that the alleged betrayal by a former top tiger is what brought the war to such a quick end. In many cases, even some of the good moves to expose the bad with good intentions are called betrayal by the affected parties. Irrespective of whatever it is, let’s find out what triggers this act of betrayal by someone.

Betrayal is way of life for some. They don’t have to think too much about taking that decision. Once they get bored at one side, they have to change side to prosper continually. They kind of get stagnated after a point. Their growth prospects saturate beyond that point. They have to go with the much needed break. This is very similar to the way we change companies for better opportunity. It is just a survival tactic for them. If survival of the fittest is the way of life here, how would they (the not-so-fit) survive? This is the only way out for them to keep their women and children away from hunger and all the worldly problems. Be with the fittest when you can’t be the fittest yourself! ‘Is it right or wrong?’ is not the analysis that we want to do. We are just trying to explore as many reasons as possible.

At times, when there are only two options, we just tend to choose the best of worst or better of worst. The more one suffers being with the best of worst the more he thinks about their evils than the other side’s. He has more reasons to teach a lesson to those than to the enemies, more so when he is into backend activities and not facing the enemy on a daily basis. He tends to think that the enemy might be better than these guys and change the side to get rid of all the current problems. When he changes the side he realizes that he is valued more here for all the information that he brought away from there.

The most critical of them all is the one that happens out of siblings’ rivalry. I have always wondered what makes Maoists join hands with Mamata Banerjee, who is dead against their siblings in ideology, the Marxists. What made Pramod Mahajan’s own brother his enemy and take his life when we were all thinking that he had enemies only in politics? What made the politburo members of his own party from other states vote against Jyoti Basu becoming the prime minister in 1996? What made the self-proclaimed savior of Tamils stop another Tamil leader from becoming the prime minister of the nation in 1997? What makes some of the national parties align with Dravidian parties who have completely different ideology (by the way, looting the public money is not their stated ideology)? What makes Pakistan support a far away friend in the fight against India? In a local body election in my place some time back, I have seen one of the communist parties joining hands with their enemies behind the scene to defeat another communist party when they were very much in the same alliance. What triggered all those is the siblings’ rivalry. Why does rivalry come to existence at all between siblings?

1.      The expectation is more from siblings than from enemies. When my brother is well-off, I expect him to help me more than he does to himself. I don’t understand his limitations. I just expect him to listen to me too much and help me unconditionally. When he doesn’t do that, I start working in closed rooms with the enemy. It’s win-win for both of us, me and the enemy. Both of us want to defeat the same person. It becomes easier for both of us as I have access to more information and places of my brother than the enemy does and the enemy has already done enough ground work to make my job easier.

2.      We are closer with our siblings than with others and we spend more time together in close contact, so we have more opportunities to have problems with each other. We have opportunity to create problems or to meet with problems everywhere, where we sleep, where we eat, where we play, where we dress, where we do anything that we do together. It also gives more opportunities to talk about the problem repeatedly and argue for each other’s side endlessly once there is a problem in place. Not just common places, we also have common people to share our problem, take sides and advice one of us or both of us. Instead of solving the problem, this makes things worse, when there is an easier solution of forgetting it for a while and moving on, in which case the time would have been a great healer. Any two individuals being together for long time is simply difficult. Whoever they are, be it parent-child, couples, siblings, friends, relatives!

3.      Beyond a point, the siblings start getting their own well wishers, who are more worried about one party’s well being than both the parties’ collectively. In these cases, the well wishers start pampering the respective parties in trouble to get into more trouble so that the relationship between the well wishers and the respective parties could get stronger. In a personal scenario, the spouses and in-laws are the example for this. Even in larger examples, there are spouses and in-laws. There are spouse countries that spoil relationships in diplomatic relationships of their partner countries. Sri Lanka has become like 'another' spouse to China now. China would ensure a bitter relationship between Sri Lanka and its sibling India sooner or later. There are spouse political allies who never allow their partners align with some particular parties. Left parties are such spouses in many states who don’t allow their mighty allies join hands with BJP.

4.      There is a natural human problem. I can see anyone else grow to any level but not my sibling. Nothing happens to me when a third party grows. But, there are many aspects that I have to be worried of if my own sibling is going to be above me. I will lose my respect. I will be looked down by others. I will have to listen to him/her. My spouse and children have to lie low in front of his/hers. Again, spouse and children stuff is just an analogy. It could be applied for entities of all size.

5.      Enemy is someone who has stated in uncertain terms that he holds opposite views on everything and has acted accordingly throughout. Whereas, I have been under an impression that my sibling is with me all along. Even then why is he doing things that I don’t like? Even if the things that he does are not as bad as our enemy’s, we find it difficult to digest because we think he should have thought like us and he should not have done it. We expect the enemy to be perfect enemy and the partner to be perfect partner, which is against the nature. It is only in movies that we could find a perfect hero that does only good and a perfect villain that does only bad. Real life equations are much more complicated than they look to be.

This is why countries have spy agencies, political leaders do not trust anyone, organizations have security policies and individuals are taught to take care of their siblings when they do well.

Tell me who is more worried about national security today. Is it external affairs or home ministry? This is why we need to keep everyone around us happy. As happy as we are! If required, happier!! That is why governance is not just governance. There is lot more to governance than administration. Otherwise, things will change but in the process the government itself will have to change. Wherever there is human element, there has to be sufficient energy going into spying the traitors and spying the spies in addition to doing the basic duties. There would be compromises made to please traitors at the cost of people, principles and ideologies.


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