Napoleon Bonaparte could’ve changed the destiny of India had he seized Egypt. Indians could be speaking French instead of English, and Delhi would’ve been a replica of Paris! Doesn’t sound all that bad to the Caricaturist. What difference would it have made – our ancestors would’ve died fighting for freedom anyways – my Grandmother would’ve gone to jail during the freedom struggle, anyways… but we’d be a more artistic lot.
But let me not get started on the Indian Freedom Struggle and show you this caricature of the Great Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon’s Napoleonic Biography
Napoleon was born on 15 August 1769 (Note the connection with India’s Independence Day.) and he died on 5 May 1821, when he was barely 53! He spent his short life fighting battles that impoverished France and killed about 3 million people in Europe. Despite this (or because of this) he is considered the greatest military leader ever.
From 1799 to 1812, almost all of Napoleon’s military quests ended in victory and they helped him establish France as a military power to reckon with; but his good fortune ended in 1812, when he invaded Russia. He hadn’t expected the climate to be so unbelievably hostile and that was his undoing. Next he was defeated by the Sixth Coalition and was kept in exile from which he escaped and resumed power. Unfortunately his army was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo, he was captured by the British and he died in captivity – either of arsenic poisoning or of cancer.
But Napoleon isn’t known only for his battles. He’s known for more.
Napoleon’s Intellectual Legacy
Napoleon was responsible for a lot of other reforms in France. Here are a few of them.
The Napoleon Complex
They (the psychologists, who else) say that Napoleon was power-hungry because he wanted to compensate for lack of height. This assumption led them to coin the term “Napoleon Complex” They (the historians of course) incorrectly assumed that this historical giant was five feet two inches in height, while he actually was five feet seven inches – quite tall for his period! The confusion, they say (the mathematicians, who else) happened because Napoleon has instituted a different unit system in France!
Napoleon’s Love Life
What’s life without a little love?
It is said that Napoleon found his love in Josephine who was a widow and also a mistress of one of his associates. Napoleon married Josephine but as he was hardly ever around, Josephine found a lover. This obviously didn’t go down well with Napoleon, who decided that two could play at the game of infidelity. So it all went on and on, until Napoleon divorced Josephine citing the medieval reason – he needed a successor. He then married Marie Louise who gave him a son, who later ruled as Napoleon II for a couple of weeks and then succumbed to TB.
Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes
- A leader is a dealer in hope…(only.)
- A picture is worth a thousand words.(Not on the Internet!)
- A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon…(a fact gladly exploited by the politicians.)
- All religions have been made by men. (I am glad that there’s been one other person who realized this.)
- An army marches on its stomach. (Of course…everyone else too.)