Genghis Khan

The white wash of the world history classifies warrior kings like Alexander and Julius Caesar as heroes and strategists. It is kind to tyrants like Hitler and Stalin by just calling them as dictators. It also successfully engrained Genghis Khan as a barbarian even in today’s collective memory, distorting historic facts in-order to promote the white supremacy narrative.

But this book ‘Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World’ by Jack Weatherford gives some beautiful insights as he pieces together the Mongol secret texts and various travelogues to create a comprehensive start to understand the extraordinary thinker that Genghis Khan was and will always be.

To put it simplistically, The Great Khan, 800 odd years back mobilised commerce across the lands and gave wealth and security to the commoners. He achieved this with scientific and philosophical temperament. If we juxtapose his leadership skills to the current corporate landscape, we as a generation will find more common ground with him rather than any world governances that existed in the last 100 years. Some highlights:

1) From being an abandoned nomad to setting up the Mongol Empire, the story is that of a Start up. Akin to cloud networks that decimal the Capex cost, Genghis Khan fused his infantry, cavalry and artillery into one unit giving him agility that crumpled strong forts.

2) The Empire’s greatest offering to the world is liberal commerce. Policies, an innovation that mimic today’s SaaS, was what they introduced to mark their empire & not monuments, stone relics or bards singing their victory songs.

3) Genghis Khan realised that, since blood is thicker than water you can not get it to flow with the dexterity needed for the vision he had. All his generals & top officials were appointed basis merit. Though the bloodline sat at the helm, what fuelled the growth of the empire generations after he died was this capability recognition that led the administration.

4) Equity was the principle to distribute war profits. Priority was given to war widows & orphans which dignified a life lost. Not romanticisation of dying for your King or a promised paradise awaiting one after death, which continues as a current narrative. Providing guaranteed insurance was one of many things through which Genghis Khan earned loyalty of his cadre and citizens.

5) The ‘barbaric’ Mongol empire deviated from the rest of the world in the prominence that they gave women. Queens acting as regents oversaw administration while the men went on the next conquest. Seeing women rub shoulders with men was the biggest discomfort of all new territories that fell in submission.

6)Before any MNC printed in their dossiers ‘think globally, act locally’, this was the guiding principle to establish governance in the lands that Genghis Khan amassed. The lofty words & ideas of secularism, inclusion & diversity that continue to elude us, was what ensured lasting stability of the Mongol Empire for the many generations to come.

I could go on, but would recommend you read/ research about Genghis Khan to form your own views. See how the Mongol Empire enriched the lands that came under their rule & did not drain them of their wealth. In conclusion what I have to say is; to call Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire barbaric is a huge misappropriation. Yes, there was loss of human life in huge measures. But which governance has any moral right to place their own massacres and war crimes in a more justifiable light that make them any less barbaric than The Mongol Empire?

1 Comment

  1. Oh wow … Nice synopsis of the book Aish! Now the book will have to match your captivating narrative of it !!


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