The New Vizier

By Rajesh Kochhar

Times of India (edit  page) 6 February 1987

This is a parable highlighting how  every one in a hierarchy is a pawn, to be used, manipulated, and sacrificed if needed.  The action takes place on a chess board. Note taht in India and the “Middle East”, chessmen are named differently compared to the international practice. King of course is the king; the queen is the vizier, knight is horse ( -rider), bishop is camel(-rider) , and rook  elephant(-rider).

The new vizier looked around with satisfaction.He was standing next to the king. All the chessmen had taken their positions and the game was about to begin.He looked at his counterpart across the board.We viziers have our stations earmarked,he noted with pride.

The pawns moved and jumped, looked haplessly at each other for support, confronted the enemy and waited to be slaughtered.Poor pawns,they can’t even turn back.The horseman has a funny way of moving, thought the vizier. But  he is damn effective, he conceded.You don’t really know from where he is going to hit you.

The battlefield now looked a little crowded now.The vizier looked at his side.The camel-rider was getting ready to move into the clear field ahead.Why can’t this fellow walk straight? said the vizier to himself.

In the meantime the king had changed places with one of the elephant-riders. A formidable combination, these two, said the vizier grudgingly.Were the two together his equal?Almost,but not quite.And then , he was alone.

Time to move where action is.He liked the ease with which he moved wherever he wanted to.Suddenly he was eyeball to eyeball with the other vizier.Time for us to lay down our lives? But no, the showdown was averted.He glanced at the king, looking rather nervous and apprehensive. ” Don’t worry, old man”,  the vizier chuckled.

It was with a sense of disbelief that he viewed his new posting.He was within the striking distancefrom , yes, a mere pawn.What stupidity?if i go,who will look after the king?

And suddenly he understood.As he was on his way out,he could see from the corner of his eyes, that a pawn , apuny pawn, in fact his own pawn,was moving cautiously, hesitatingly, to take over as the new vizier.

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