The King and his Minister - a moral lesson for leaders


Here is small story which brings out a fact that the people at the helm of affairs often waste their precious time on petty issues without giving much importance to the things which need urgent attention.

We have heard about king Prachanda earlier in the story – The King and the Shepherd boy. He felt happier to know that everyone in his country is very intelligent and the naughty shepherd boy proved it again. Recalling the answers for his trivial questions, the king was overwhelmed with joy and patted himself for his good training and ability to inculcate good knowledge among the rural masses too. But Minister Ravi Chandra feels uncomfortable for his position and the king's annoying behavior. It is uncertain when he would rejoice with the non-relative answers of the poor guys for his senseless questions. The pleasing answers carried good rewards and the answers which the king feels not relevant or incorrect would get the individual punished, with the punishments ranging from rigorous imprisonment to death. Perhaps, the credit goes to the shepherd boy Gautam who enjoys the pleasure of the king and the king finally concluded to himself that everyone in his kingdom is intelligent under his steward leadership.

A small doubt haunts the King

One day the king looked serious, thinking about something in his waiting hall and didn't notice the entry of his Minister. 'Namaskar, Raja Saheb', the Minster uttered twice. The king got alert with a jerk on hearing the second salutation and asked him to occupy his seat. The Minister could have been warned for disturbing him but surprisingly, he was asked to be seated. Ravi Chandra blamed himself for violating his protocol and thanked God for not getting any scolding from his king.

He humbly asked the king, "My Lord, what are you seriously thinking?"
"Nothing, what's the matter?" the king asked.
"Not anything serious, my Lord. But it appears the king is serious about something, what could be the reason?", Ravi Chandra insisted.
"It's okay, I should share my thoughts with my own Minister. Isn't it?"
"Exactly, my Lord."
"Yes, a pinch of doubt is following me like a shadow. In our kingdom everyone is intelligent, do you accept it?"
"Yes sir, Not all, but to a maximum extent everyone is intelligent."
"You exactly got my point. I want to know about the stupid guys we have and you have to pick the best five out of them. I am giving you a month's time. Go around the country. Go ahead."
"This is called digging one's own grave", Ravi Chandra murmured which was unheard by the king.

The Minister's dilemma

"Working with such a madcap is really a difficult task. This king makes us annoyed with his innocent and stupid ideas which no one gets. It's purely my mistake. I should not have insisted the reason for his serious thinking", the Minister cursed to himself.

"We can judge an intelligent man by some tricky and serious questions. But how to judge the best five fools of all the fools. How to determine someone as a fool?", seriously a tough assignment was given to him, he thought.

'Let it be, I would be on official duty for a month and I would enjoy my honeymoon trip with my wife', he finally decided and went around the kingdom and had his pleasure trip with his wife.

The king and the Minister

The deadline of one month is over. Ravi Chandra returned to his headquarters and reported to his king. The court hall was full, as everyone came o know that the Minister has come up with his best judgement after a thorough visit of the country for one month.

As the king entered the court hall, all the courtiers stood up with attention and were seated after he occupied his chair.

He signaled his Minister to start the proceedings. "I will teach this mad guy a lesson today", Minister Ravi Chandra said to himself and started speaking.

"My Lord, as per your directive I visited the entire country, checked every nook and corner and analysed the data available with me. I have identified two big fools in the country".
"What nonsense you are talking", the king got annoyed and said, "I asked you to select five".
"Yes my Lord. First I would present you the two first and listen to their greatness."
"It's okay. Proceed."

"Here is the first one and check out his capabilities. He was riding a bullock-cart. He was carrying a big basket full of fruits with the reason that it would be over-weighed, if placed on the cart itself."

"Oh! What a stupid guy he is! That's why I told you to visit and find such people. All are not intelligent. My aim is to make our kingdom 100% free of fools. Who is the other one?" the king asked.

"Yes sir. He is the fellow who was dragging his cow on to the roof of his house. The reason was grass has grown over the roof."

"Oh, very nice to hear and shame on their part", said the king and looked at the court hall as if all the crowd over there were agreeing to his views. "What about the rest of the crew? I mean the remaining three. That's why I told you to pick five such people on the day itself when I ordered you go around", he added.

"No problem sir. All the three are here. The third one is none other than me, that is the Minister of the country".

"What?"
"Yes sir. ignoring all the major issues which are creating havoc to our people, I was roaming here and there searching five such fools. Isn't it?"

The king laughed loudly and said that he just obeyed the order of his king and continued to name the fourth one.

"If you permit me to say, it's you only my Lord. When so many issues need to be resolved, you were harping on a simple thing about the number of intelligent people under your leadership. You have wasted your time and that of your subordinate too."

The king was stunned. The court hall became dumbfounded. Everyone went into a trance, is if heaven is going to fall because of the anger generated by the words of the minister to their king.

But king Prachanda maintained his cool and praised him, "I'm pleased with your honesty. That's why you are appointed as my Minister. Okay, I would like to see the Fifth one. Where is he?"

"Sir, he was not sleeping all the night and eager to know the proceedings. He was the first man to reach the court hall. He is the journalist of the News Paper 'Digger' who followed me and tracked my movements and now sending the minute to minute information from this court hall. Look at him sitting at the corner," he pointed his finger at the overenthusiastic news reporter.

The king smiled, kept calm and declared not to conduct any tests on wisdom henceforth. He finally said,"Let us focus on issues which are important for the people. I appreciate the wisdom of my Minister and his good findings".

Summary

This small story sends a good message to one and all to focus on the things which need to be addressed. Our time is precious and those people who are performing their supervisory role should make a point that making futile exercise on trivial issues won't yield any positive results.


Article by Jagdish Patro
Jagdish Patro is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to ISC and other websites. Fond of reading books, novels and spends his leisure time by listening to music. He did his B.Sc in Applied Chemistry and his M.Sc in Resource Development Technology. He edited and published an in-house monthly journal by name ‘Srujana’ during 2009-2011 which was totally a private circulation.

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Comments

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao11 Feb 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

If we ignore the important tasks before us and concentrate on small and waste issues we will be finally labeled as a fool only. This is the message we get from this article. In our real life also we will see such people many times. Sometimes the big bosses in the office will be talking to you on how to save a penny but from the back of him, pounds will be getting wasted. It will not be noticed. The rulers these days try to convert all of us to kings so that we will forget the real problems and quarrel among us by concentrating on non-issues like caste and religion. While we are busy quarreling on such issues the rulers will make merry by doing whatever they want. So all persons should be always concentrating on main issues and should not be like fools and allow the rulers to do whatever they want.



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