Too caught up to read the story? Listen to it instead.
Thank you Biplab Kumar Deb. India’s biggest technological breakthrough can finally be rightfully reclaimed. We invented the internet – the reason all of you can watch yoga videos on Youtube (the yoga reference put in for obvious reasons – if you must rub in civilisational greatness, you may as well go the whole hog).
Anyway, coming back to the Tripura CM – he said that internet and satellite communication was the reason Sanjaya could give such a vivid account of the battle of Kurukshetra to King Dhritarashtra. There is no reason to disbelieve him – and there is no evidence to suggest the contrary.
In fact, I do believe the honourable minister in all humility has grossly understated the facts. The internet, not Lord Krishna, played a starring role in moving things along in the Mahabharata. Here are a few things that he missed out on, which I will be glad to fill you in on.
Family Whatsapp Group Troubles Began in 8th Century BC
The root of all conflict in the Mahabharata can be traced back to a sunny afternoon in the 8th century BC when young Yudhishthira decided to create a family WhatsApp group. Believing that a WhatsApp group can only accommodate a maximum of 100 people, the young lad left out a few of his cousins. Not too many – just 100 of them. It was hardly his fault that there were 100 Kauravas to begin with.
Fortunately, the resident geek Vidura intervened and gently pointed out that a WhatsApp group can now go up to 256. Being unnaturally scrupulous, Yudhishthira added all of his cousins, but naturally remained group administrator.
This inflamed Duryodhana but try as he might, he couldn’t wrest control of the group. Adding further fuel to the fire were the incessant core training videos that Bhima uploaded on the group – given Duryodhana’s suspect core, it was clear who was being targeted. Duryodhana exited the group, swearing one day to take it over. He could have easily set up his own group, but he was petty that way.
‘Complicated’ FB Relationship Statuses & ‘Shakuni Analytica’
Then the contentious issue of WiFi. Bhishma, the passive aggressive laissez faire patriarch, decreed that the router to happiness could only be one. With 100 Kauravas and 5 Pandavas, you can imagine who ended up hogging the internet. This particularly displeased the pretty boys Nakul and Sahadev who had built quite a following on Instagram by posting pouting selfies.
They also occasionally put up guess-who posts which had all of Hastinapur’s girls blushing and sighing. But now their upload time took forever and their following had plateaued. In all of this, one thing was clear – Hastinapur quite clearly didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with two sets of rulers.
And then Draupadi. It can finally be told what the final catalyst in the feud was. Draupadi in her relationship status on Facebook wrote in all truthfulness, ‘It is complicated’.
Thirty seconds later, Duryodhana sent her a knowing ‘wink emoticon’ on Messenger. A furious Draupadi blocked him – and the rest, as they say, is a BR Chopra soap.
Finally, however, the entire Pandava clan exited Facebook after they realised their data is being sold to ‘Shakuni Analytica’ – a shady market research firm on the payroll of Duryodhana to rig the popular mood in Hastinapur.
Final Nail in Mahabharata’s Coffin? Fake News
However, their exit from Facebook came a little too late, after Bhima made the tragic error of checking in to Facebook in the 13th year of their exile in Virata. This led to their discovery, and Duryodhana reneging on his promise to restore the kingdom to them. In retrospect, marking themselves ‘safe’ after Lakshagraha burnt down wasn’t the smartest move either. The perils of internet addiction – we know it too well, having invented it.
And finally, the last blow that the internet struck the Mahabharata: the fake news algorithms played fast and loose with the happenings on the battleground in Kurukshetra. This was called the ‘Ashwatthama effect’, and played a crucial part in swinging things the Pandava way.
Not to mention, the many motivational forwards Lord Krishna sent Arjuna on doing his duty – motivational memes, GIFs and even a TEDx video on ‘Doing your Dharma’.
The above is only a very short gist of the many ways the Mahabharata was affected by the internet. It is indeed shameful that many centuries later, the Western world should take credit for what is one of our most stupendous discoveries. More power to Biplab Kumar Deb. Let false notions of Western innovation and discovery crumble like Lenin statues in Tripura.
(Naomi Datta tweets at nowme_datta and thinks Game of Thrones is not a patch on the Mahabharata which she read first as a 10-year-old. Views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit Send.