This incident took place, long, long ago, about 2300 years ago.
Kalinga and Magadha were two powerful states. These neighboring states were at constant
war with each other for nearly a century. Kalinga had suffered defeat and was waiting for
the right time to teach Magadha a lesson. War had broken out again between them.
Just at that time the King of Kalinga learnt disturbing news, a Greek King had come
from beyond India and was marching towards Magadha.
The Magadha had defeated and humiliated the Kalingas a hundred years before. Suppose
the King of Kalinga had welcomed this attack; suppose he had thought - 'Let this new enemy
defeat the King of Magadha, my desire for revenge will be satisfied' that would
have been natural. He could have thought: 'These people of Magadha insulted us a hundred
years ago; let them suffer now.'
But the King of Kalinga thought differently. 'This enemy who is now attacking Magadha
is an outsider; he comes here to loot. He is as much my enemy as of Magadha.'
Those who had been at war for over a century joined hands in this hour of great danger.
The outsider who had come to plunder was driven away.
If only the later kings of India had shown the foresight and wisdom which the King of
Kalinga showed twenty-three centuries ago; if only they had sunk their differences when
the Muslims and the British attacked our country ; if only they had fought unitedly
shoulder to shoulder, considering themselves as sons of the same soil ; India need not
have suffered in slavery.
The king who had acted with such farsightedness and wisdom even in those early days was