Political leadership has perhaps been the most controversial of ships to sail in. The very shroud of mystery that encapsulates them, also deprives them of the link that allows human connections. Couple this with the vagaries of history, and you have a potent combination of either superhuman or inhuman personalities, exhibiting rather extreme shade of emotions and traits. To that extent, the insights that a biography of a historical figure offers, are unparalleled.
Raya, aggrandised as Sri Krishna Deva Raya, is revealed to be…a good man. That’s a rather anticlimactic yet concise summary. That Raya is ordinary, that he is just as much a slave to human pain, search for solace and other fallibilities as any other. This process of retrospective humanisation is a fascinating lesson for examining modern day leaders in a far more holistic outlook. What also gratified me was the objective calling out of the subject’s problematic decisions and borderline megalomania.
Another fact that leaped out to me was this beautiful yet strange human need for a sense of belonging, to the extent that even a mighty king feels out of place due to the static constraints of his birth, and his career is centres around carving out a legacy by ironically fulfilling the wishes of his predecessors. The class/caste divide that drove the expansion of the kingdom, was also loaded with context to explain the sense of misplaced belonging for Raya, magnificently demonstrating the human insecurities of perhaps the mightiest man of his time.