Remember how our fathers or grandfathers narrate stories about all these kingdoms and hidden cities where there were beautiful maidens and brave warriors? This is one such story. Bear in mind that this story is completely fictional. This is the story of Muziri, a harbor town lost through the pages of history.
The Prince’s Dilemma
The Prince kept on tossing and turning on his bed. The nightmare was always the same. He did not fear death, rather he feared dying after living a cowardly life. His father had accomplished everything required for his entire dynasty. There was nothing to capture, no wealth to plunder and not even expeditions to command. Rather than being jealous, he wanted the opportunities his father had. He needed the working classes to sing praises of him rather than upholding his image as a mere shadow of his father. They called him deranged and prodigal which was enough to make him question his own abilities. He had many ideas for administration and the royal affairs but could not escape the binding laws of tradition. He would sit with his friends and drink all night at the marketplace, contemplating from which angle he could exercise his ideas. His weapons lay at his feet, useless and rusted as most of the neighbouring kingdoms had large battalions of warriors and fleets of armed ships ready to crush this little hamlet if there was any form of revolt.
He had bards and jesters as his friends. They would discuss the beauty of their hometown and how they had to revolt to break it from the shackles of being just a mere pawn for the Chola dynasty.
Prince: I fear the time has come my lads! Fie on anyone who despises this great town where fleets are aplenty!
Bard: Praise the Prince of Muziripattinam! Praise his valour as he will lead the revolt!
The very idea of a separate identity haunted him. So much power and a culture they could truly call their own. Muziri had adapted all the cultures which their visitors had brought along with them. Precious rubies and silver was traded for the spices, textiles and everything which the outsiders could lay their eyes on. The most attractive factors surrounding the outsiders was their attire and their alcohol, which became priceless in the limited eyesight of the old Raja.
The Raja ,old and grand sat on the diwan as he assembled his small court of bards, ministers and astrologers. It was like a very successful day at the office. The bards would heap praises of him. He would drink British liquor from his cup and ask the ladies to take over the show. The stage was set for the Prince to either take over or request his father to think for the better of Muziri.
He emphasised on his plan to his father and strangely enough, he refused profoundly.
Raja: Have you lost your mind son! You have been spending too much time with all these wastrels that sing mindless praises of us.
Prince: They are more than that ,father. If you just listen to my plan,we can make Muziri the biggest port in the world!
Raja: If you had half the wits of your brothers, you would not even dare to utter these words to me!
Prince: I am ten times better than those imbeciles you call your sons.All they do is live off whatever you have conquered. How about you give me a chance so that you can see who is worthy of being crown prince!
Raja: Alright son you have borrowed my patience to hear your masterplan. Tonight, sleep peacefully as tomorrow, you will perform an extraordinary feat.
Prince: And what is that father?
Raja: Becoming the vanquisher of our enemies and eventually a true Chola!
The masked man watched from a distance. He carefully listened to the father and son. His horse galloped as he hurried off to the borders, as a sense of danger loomed large.