[Short Story] The Trial of Ravana
Ravan was pacing hard in his royal chamber. A disturbing trend was brought to light in his peoples court today. His advisors informed of rise in corruption among the civil servants. Ravan had always tried hard to instill discipline in his people. He tried hard to maintain peace and policy in the golden land of Lanka. We are the richest kingdom ever, don't they see it? he asked himself, If everyone is rich, why is there corruption?
He kept asking question again and again. Why are the people corrupt? We are just and fair to everyone, we do not over tax them, no one is poor? Then why do we have corruption?
Watching him agitated Vibhishan walked towards him, "Anything worrying you brother?"
"Why is there corruption Vibhishan? We have given them everything they want.... why corruption then?" Ravan asked, "Even the poorest of the villager eats in the plate of Gold, then why do we have corruption? Why can't we end it once and for all?"
Surpanakha was sitting close by watching a few ants carry the block of sugar to their house, she quipped, "Of Course there is a way to end it forever, I have been telling you since ever. Burn one or two corrupt officers in the middle of the kingdom for the junta to see... fear will make them obey."
Vibhishan looked at his sister horrified at the thought and turned back to his brother,
"I can't burn my own subjects," Ravan said, "What message will that send to others? The king hates them?"
"You are the demon king," Surpanakha said, "What is there to like about you? You are not like those sissy Ayodhya people whose prince gave up his rightful throne just for the wishes of a half dead king," she said simply drowning the ant in the glass of water.
Ravan watched her drown the ant and felt agitated, was he as the king only suppose to impose fear in his subjects? Why would people live in his kingdom then?
Vibhishan kept his hand on his brothers shoulder, "As a king you need to have faith in your subjects and so should they. Corruption begins when you loose their faith. The prince of Ayodhya gave up his rightful throne to keep word of his father. It was not done because he loved his father well, it was done because if he refused there would be a clash in royal household. Why will the subjects listen to the king if his own son won't? A strong royal family..." he glance at Surpanakha, who had lost her attention in the talk and was busy in her ant drowning"... can restore faith in the just king. If we can take some advise from the prince of Ayodya it was, the prince will lead the subjects, not by ordering them but by bowing before them.
As a King, instead of making stringent laws, ask them to have faith in the system. Build the system so strong that no external agent can peak inside it. Only then can you curb the corruption from inside. ."
Vibhishan's words only were drowned by the screams of Surpanakha, "Stupid ants... they all biting me, get away. Shoo Shoo..."
"If the subjects fear you, sooner or later they will revolt against you," Vibhishan concluded.
P.s. The story is entirely fiction. Characters adopted from Indian Mythology Ramayana