History has remained testimony to the fact that wars were waged by kings and emperors just to satisfy their ambitions.
Alexander, the Great was young and ambitious and came all the way from Greece to India. He aspired to rule over the whole world. Ashoka was also an ambitious ruler and waged wars to annex new lands. On one such expedition he saw the trail of death and destruction of the enemy camp in the war that he had won. He was so much moved by the bloodshed that he decided to forsake war and work for the good of humanity. He realized that to fulfill his ambitious, he had unknowingly sacrificed the lives of many innocent people. In modern times, Hitler would be remembered as the most ambitious man on earth. He believed in the superiority of the Aryan race and wanted to exterminate the Jews from the face of earth.
The gas chambers, the torture cells and mass graveyards exhumed after the end of the Second World War grim reminders of the German holocaust. The fourteen-day Mahabjarata war was fought because of the ambitious hope of Duruodhana to rule over India and deprive the Pandavas of their throne. According to Ramayana, Queen Kaikeyi had ambitious plan to install her son, Bharata, on the throne. This lea Rama to forsake his throne for his younger brother and undertake fourteen years of exile, in Macbeth, Duncan is killed by Macbeth in an attempt to take over the former’s empire and later suffers from the trauma of the guilt. Brutus murdered Caesar in Julius Caesar and admitted to his countrymen that he had carried it out because of his ambition. History, epics, legends and literature have recorded how lofty ambitions of men have disturbed the peace of the people around them, Ambition overpowers a man and obsesses him with a drive. He cares little for the well-being of others, even if it means trampling the emotion and the precious lives of others. Under the powerful sway of his ambition he goes on a rampage caring little for the trail of sorrow and the loss of both men and property.
Ambition always spells doom for the man who nurtures it and also leaves behind a trail of death and destruction. All religions preach universal love and peace. But, these remain Utopian ideals, which are beyond the realm of anybody’s understanding. Gautam Buddha felt that man should cast off all desires and follow the path of righteousness to achieve perfect happiness.
Great philosophers and prophets have preached the message of love and renunciation and a control over one’s passions to attain salvation. The 20th century saw Mahatma Gandhi pursuing the freedom struggle on the ideals of love, tolerance and non-violence. On the eve of independence, however, he was a disillusioned man because the country was partitioned, which led to the outbreak of communal violence. His efforts of obtaining freedom through peaceful means were shattered because of the lofty ambitions of some leaders to grab power. The partition led to carnage on both sides which resulted in huge loss of life and property. Some ambitious political leaders of our times continue to play havoc with the lives of the people.
International peace remains a cherished dream. Global terrorism is sponsored by a few developed countries to further their ambitions. With a view to contain communism and influence of Russia on other countries, America supplied monetary and arms assistance to various countries. The move boomeranged on it, when America itself became the victim of terrorist attacks. Terrorist outfits which were once sponsored by America, bombed the embassies of the US at Nairobi in Kenya and at Dares Salam in 1ar.zar.
ia resulting in heavy casualties. Ambitious attempts to gain supremacy in the world have resulted in nuclear arms proliferation. Nuclear tests carried out by both India and Pakistan has made the situation in the Indian subcontinent grim. A mindless, power-hungry and an ambitious leader of any nuclear state could “destroy the planet into smithereens a hundred times over” as feared by V. K. Krishna Menon. For peaceful co-existence, we should take lessons from history and turn to the wisdom of the wise men for guidance.
Only then can man hope to live in peace and harmony.