Sunday, May 22, 2011

Analysis of emerging tourism industry of Qatar

                                   fig 1: Doha golf club (source:

Qatar, the second fastest growing economy last year, is attracting a lot of attention from all around the world. Doha, the capital of this US $ 133 Billion economy has catapulted itself into a lavish city, from a sluggish one, within a decade. The success saga of Qatar could not escape from the eyes of the given website and a detailed analysis has been done (The detailed analysis could be found in following link . The given blog will analyze the emerging tourism sector of Qatar and will be benchmarking its capital Doha against another oil rich emirate, Abu Dhabi. On account of its burgeoning GDP & rapid business growth, Doha aspires to replace Dubai as the capital of Middle East. This might be a possibility in other fields but in tourism, where the Emirate state receives more than 10 million tourists a year, it is far from reality. The tourism industry in Qatar, where 95% of tourists are business travelers, is still in its inception stage and has a long way to go.

Tourism Industry: General overview

In Qatar, where petroleum constitutes 70% of its govt. revenue and 85% of export has ambitious plans for diversifying into various other alternate sectors. Tourism is one of them. Though tourism sector at Qatar is not very matured, it surely is high up on the govt. agenda, and is attracting huge investments, direct as well as indirect.

In 2009, Qatar’s total tourism revenue had been US $ 0.7 billion, lagging behind Bahrain’s US $ 1.1 billion and UAE’s US $ 7.2 Billion (Euromonitor blog, 2010). The biggest driving force for the sector is Qatar winning the bid to host football World Cup, which is considered as the biggest sporting event across the world, in the year 2022. Qatar is the 1st Arab state to host such a huge sports event and this will surely enhance the tourism industry. To prepare for the World Cup, Qatar is in quest of huge investments in infrastructure, hotels, and sporting utilities.

Some of the major infrastructure projects include Lusail city, Qatar Entertainment City, US $ 20 billion Pearl Project, Qatar Metro Project, International airports, football stadiums etc. The following figure shows the inflow of tourists over the period of time. The slight spike in 2006 over 2004 is on the account of Asian games 2006, conducted in Doha.

                                               fig 2: Inflow of tourists in millions

(Source of data: Euromonitor Blog)

Qatar is vigorously building new hotels to bolster its emerging tourism industry. So far it is has a wide range of luxury hotels and is currently concentrating more on development of 3 star and 4 star hotels. In 2010, it was estimated that it had added 2,500 new rooms, thereby bringing the total number of rooms to more than 11,000. (, 2010) The following graph reflects the number of hotel rooms, including past as well as future projections:

fig 3: total number of hotel rooms in Qatar

                                                 fig 4: counrty profile of inbound tourists in 2008

Types of tourism in Qatar

Qatar’s tourism industry primarily depends on business tourism and, as discussed earlier, 95% of the travelers are business travelers. Along with business tourism, other forms of tourism which are getting developed are luxury tourism, sports tourism, desert tourism etc.

Business tourism: The high end business tourism is the corner stone of the tourism industry at Qatar, owing to Qatar’s vibrant economy and emergence as a constructive place to do business. The capital, Doha, is also emerging as a powerful MICE (Meetings, Incentive travel, Conferences and Exhibition) venue, along with other Middle Eastern counterparts, like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo . In order to support its MICE industry , Qatar has established an institution named QMDI-“Qatar MICE Development Institute”, which is in the business of advising, supporting and conducting top notch business events at Qatar, with international expertise. Presently, there are international hotel chains along with Culture and Heritage Village and Doha Exhibition Center, catering to the MICE segment. Next year, in 2012, the QNCC (Qatar national exhibition center) with a massive space of 40,000 Sq meters is expected to be operational, adding further strength to the MICE industry.

Lifestyle tourism: Qatar is seeking huge investments in building lifestyle tourism avenues which includes luxury hotels, resorts, spas, marinas, golf courses, exotic islands, coastline development, cultural museums etc. Qatar is a place where modern brilliance blends well with the traditional Qatari charm. Blessed with exotic desert landscapes and magnificent coast line, Qatar has a wide range of things to offer for life style tourists, hailing from all around the globe. Though still in its initial phase, Qatar is coming up with multi-billion dollar master plans to transform itself into a magnificent lifestyle tourist destination.

Sports tourism: Like other Middle Eastern/GCC cities such as Dubai and Bahrain, Doha is emerging fast as a sports tourism destination. The very 1st thrust for sports tourism in Qatar was conducting the 2006 Asian games, the second largest sporting event after the Olympics. Qatar built around 30 sports facilities for it. The Asian Games 2006, the biggest Asian game of its time, witnessed 45 countries participating in 40 competitive events. (European business review, 2005). Since then, Qatar has conducted some world class events like, SonyEricsson WTA Tour, ExxonMobil Tennis Open, Qatar Masters Cup (golf), Asian Cup Football 2011 and some more. QTA (Qatar tourism authority), QSI (Qatar sports investment) and the Qatar Olympic Committee, in association with other private players, has invested extensively in developing world class sporting complexes such as Aspire Zone, Khalifa stadium, Doha golf course, Lusail international race circuit etc with state of the art facilities. The biggest success which Qatar has got in the area of sports had been winning the bid for hosting 2022 Football World Cup. Qatar had got ambitious plans for this grand event.

Major tourism development projects

The tourism industry at Qatar will go through a very interesting phase in the coming years. There are loads of huge development projects, including a new airport, under construction. The following part of the blog will be having a look at some of these projects:

Lusail city: It’s a US $ 7.2 billion real estate development project which can accommodate 200, 000 individuals. Spread across an area of 37 Sq Kilometer, it consists of residences, towers, resorts, hotels and an offshore island with 500 villas. The project was announced in 2005 and is expected to be finished by 2020. (, 2010)

Qatar Entertainment City: Qatar entertainment city, a project funded by ADIH (Abu Dhabi investment house) is the part of grand Lusail city development project. Entertainment city is a step taken by Qatar to transform capital Doha into a world class tourist destination. Spread across an area of 10 Sq Kilometer, with a unique Kilometer long waterfront, the project will serve three purpose- residence, retail and entertainment. Along with sea front apartments and villas, five star hotels and retail outlets, the US $ 10 billion entertainment city project will be providing a wide range of entertainment options such as roller coasters, theme parks, cafes, go carting, rain forests, theatres etc. (, 2011)

Pearl island project: The US $ 20 billion pearl island is a manmade island spread across an area of four Sq Kilometer, developed by United Development Company (UDC), the biggest private equity firm in Qatar. The mixed used project will be consisting of world class apartments, villas, sea front accommodations, hotels and resorts along with wide range of entertainment facilities such as Marinas with around 1000 boats, yacht club, Restaurants etc. The project started in 2006 and is expected to finish by 2011. Once being fully complete, the island will be having 18000 luxury houses, capable of accommodating 41,000 individuals along with 2 million Sq feet of retail space used for retail outlets, restaurants etc. (pearl island homepage, 2011)

New Doha international airport: By 2012, the new Doha international airport (NDIA) will be operational. The US $ 11 billion airport, with an annual capacity of 24 million passengers (once being fully complete, it can handle around 50 million passengers) and 1.3 million cargos, is expected to be one of the most high tech airports in the world. Once being operational, the base of Qatar airways, the national career of Qatar will be shifted to NDIA. (, 2009)

2022 World Cup: Preparations

One of the biggest success that Qatar witnessed in the recent past is winning the bid to conduct Football World Cup 2022. The entire state is very excited with this and is preparing hard for the same. In order to successfully conduct the event, huge investment plans are on cards. The following part will be discussing the road map of preparation for the world cup:-

Road, railways and sea networks: It has been estimated that during the World Cup, 400,000 fans will be visiting Doha from all around the world. In order to facilitate their smooth and fast movement, Qatar is having huge investment plans. It includes allocating US $ 20 billion for the development of road and highway networks, US $ 11 billion for the new airport discussed above, US $ 5.5 billion for deepwater port, US $ 4 billion for building a bridge between Bahrain and Qatar over the sea. There will be an investment of approximately US $ 40 billion in developing a 340 Kilometer, 98 station metro railway networks for Doha and its outer skirts. (, 2011)

Football stadium: There is a US $ 4 billion investment plan for building nine stadiums and renovating three existing stadiums. In order to cope with the intense heat, prevalent in this part of globe during the time of world cup, Qatar will be implementing cutting edge climate technologies, which will keep the temperature with in 28 degree Celsius. (, 2010)

Hotels: To accommodate the vast pool of fans coming from all around the world, Qatar has invested religiously in developing 3 star and 4 star hotels. It is expected that by 2022 Qatar will be having around 90,000 rooms. Along with the existing 100 properties, 140 new properties will be used for meeting the accommodation requirements. Qatar is also planning to use a cruise ship with 6000 rooms for accommodating the fans. (, 2010)

Doha vs. Abu Dhabi

Both Qatar and Abu Dhabi are considered as emerging tourist destinations and have striking similarity. In the following part the tourism industry of Qatar and Abu Dhabi will be compared on various parameters.

                               table 1: comparing Qatar and Abu Dhabi across various parameters

Tourism is high up on the agendas for both the Arab state- Qatar as well as Abu Dhabi, and are seeking huge investments in tourism infrastructure and are marketing them very aggressively. While Qatar is preparing hard for 2022, Abu Dhabi aspires having around 7.9 million tourists by the end of 2030, as a part of its vision 2030. ( a detailed blog on Abu Dhabi 2030 could be found in the following link:  ) They have their similarities, as well as individual competencies. While going by the table, it can be inferred that Abu Dhabi has slight advantage over Qatar, on account of various parameters such as number of, tourists, hotel rooms etc. Qatar’s plus point is its robust economic growth, escalation and expansion plan for its tourism industry, emergence of its national carrier Qatar airways as a world class carrier and winning the bid for organizing football world cup 2022 which can do unprecedented marketing for Qatar as a destination. One interesting point that has to be observed is that since both the Arab state share a lot of similarities and are also geographically closely placed, their ambitious plans for tourism are bound to clash at some point of another. One’s gain will definitely be another’s loss.

Recommendations for tourism industry at Qatar:-

Unique Branding: - Over the period of time Qatar needs to Come up with a unique position for it. In the present scenario, Qatar may have made a mark as one of the fastest economies in the world, but as far as tourism is concern, there is hardly anything differentiating Qatar from Abu Dhabi, Bahrain or Kuwait. It is like any other cash rich/ oil rich GCC state with upcoming, real estate projects, sky scrapers, shopping malls, spas and resorts etc. Qatar needs to build its promotional campaign on something, which can directly differentiate Qatar from rest of the Gulf States. Unique selling prepositions could be its Arabic heritage, economic growth, safety, friendly populace etc.

2022 world cup: 2022 world cup will provide a great opportunity for Qatar to showcase its grandeur to the whole world. After winning the bid, Qatar is getting a lot of international attention. The entire process of preparation for the world cup can do wonders in building brand Qatar. Hence it needs to use it judiciously in building a positive brand image for itself.

Use of large number of hotel rooms post world cup: Qatar is planning to build 90,000 hotel rooms for the world cup. Once the world cup is over, further utilization of such a large inventory of hotel rooms will be difficult for Qatar, until unless it does not develop a strong alternative tourism market for itself. Qatar needs to develop a strong market for a wide range of tourism such as, leisure, life style, sports, desert, cultural, tourism.

Engaging business travelers: 95% of the travelers visiting at Qatar come for business travelers. Qatar needs to engage such travelers for some leisure activities. It had been observed that business visitors had high chances of revisiting a location for leisure activities.

Strong focus on inbound tourism: With a per capita GDP of US $ 93,000 in 2008, (Euromonitor, 2009) Qataris are among the richest individuals in the world. Hence it is essential that the tourism authorities at Qatar should not only be focusing on inbound tourism but also emphasize on domestic tourism, given the fact that Qatari nationals have huge disposable income to spend.

#: includes major construction projects along with preparation for the world cup.


1> Euromonitor blog, 2010, Qatar’s ambition to develop its tourism sector, available at < >

2>, 2010, Qatar to see big increase in hotel rooms in 2010, available at < >

3>, 2011, homepage, available at

4> European business review, 2005, Intercontinental hotel links regional development to booming sports tourism sector, available at < >

5> Arabian, 2010, Lusail to complete Qatari city in ten years, available at html

6>, 2011, home page, available at html

7>, 2011, homepage, available at  /SubTemplate1.aspx?ID=165&MID=115

8>, 2009, New Doha international airport, available at /

9>, 2011, Qatar $ 40 billion investment for world cup, available at qatar-40-billion-investment-for-world-cup

10>, 2010, Qatar: investment provides new business opportunities, available at < >

11>, 2010, World cup fans housed at sea for Qatar 2022, available at /

12> Euromonitor, 2009, Euromonitor international: travel and tourism in Qatar, p-48

Friday, May 6, 2011

SWOT Analysis of SME segment of UAE

                      fig: Abu Dhabi( source:    

For any nation a vibrant SME  (small and medium enterprise) segment does not only play an important role in providing vibrancy to the national economy but also  a very important role in providing employment and unwinding entrepreneurial spirit of the population. In the following blog author will be doing a SWOT analysis of the SME sector at UAE.

SME primarily means small and medium enterprises. Different nations have different definitions for the SME segment. According to the definition by European Union companies with up to; 250 employees come under medium enterprise, 50 employees come under small enterprise and 10 come under micro enterprises. Another global definition has been defined by Standard Charted bank that places any organization with a turnover of US $ 1 Million to US $ 25 Million under the SME segment.

SME segment has the following advantage:-

• It’s an important constituent of economy and a major source of employment for many of the emerging economies across the world. In many of the economies around 90% of the non oil GDP comes from the SME segment. SMEs constitute 50% of the global GDP and employs 85% of the world population. (Dun and Bradstreet, 2008)

• Helps in realizing entrepreneurial zeal and creativity of individuals.

• Helps in diversification of the economy.

• Due to ease of entry and exit into the SME segment, it helps  building more elastic and competitive economies.

Along with the usual benefits, SMEs do have their own disadvantages that are as follows:

• These are usually small companies lacking management capacities.

• They find it tough to afford various support services such as, financial services, HR services, IT support etc, which hampers their productivity.

• SMEs have been hit hard by the global economic crisis on two fronts, due to credit crunch as well as customers owing money to them finding it tough to pay back. This had resulted in closing down of many of the SMEs across the globe.

Government across the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and GCC (gulf cooperative council) are emphasizing strongly on the SME segments. UAE one of the important constituent of the GCC has got a very strong SME segment with more than 70% of the non oil GDP coming from the SME segment (Chris Bruin, 2010). The major Emirates of UAE , both Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi have got ambitious socio economic development plans in the form of Dubai 2015 and Abu Dhabi 2030 with a strong focus on SME segment.

The following table shows some important facts and figures regarding the SME segment in UAE

SMEs by Emirates and Sector (Source: Dun & Bradstreet, 2008)

 SWOT Analysis of SME sector in UAE

• Strong economy: as a nation UAE is a rich country with huge oil, trade and tourism revenue. This helps in providing the required institutional support for the emerging SMEs in the Emirates.

• Rise of oil prices: the rise of oil prices have resulted in stronger economy for UAE, eventually resulting into stronger confidence among the business fraternity and higher disposable income for consumption. This will surely have positive impact on the SME segment. (Emirates 24/7, 2011)

• Efficient government: The govt. authorities at UAE are known for their efficiency and speed of execution. As a part of their plans for Emiratization and economic diversification, they are keeping the SME segment high up on their agenda. Both at Abu Dhabi and Dubai associations, intended for encouraging and supporting SME segments, had been formed.

• Intra Regional trade: SMEs are expected to be benefitted by the rise in trade across the MENA region. (Emirates 24/7, 2011)

• Strategic position: UAE is placed strategically between the cross roads of West and East and North and South. This strategic position helps it to attract and retain businesses and human resource talent from all across the globe.

• There had been rapid growth in lending activities for the SME sector in the recent years, from 2003 to 2008 there had been an increase of 200% in lending activities for individuals for business purpose. Along with domestic banks many of the MNC banks like Standard Charted and HSBC have their dedicated business units at UAE, catering specifically to the SME segment. Some of the banks active in SME lending in the given geography are- HSBC, Mashreq, RAK, Union national bank, ADCB, Citi bank etc (Dun & Bradstreet, 2008)

• SMEs can also draw strength from the Inherent strength of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as trading hubs and regional financial centers.


• In spite of a booming SME segment, they keep facing various challenges in the form of high start up cost and difficult access to capital. In spite of growth in credit for SMEs, most of the individual businesses still complain about lack of capital. According to a research conducted by Dun & Bradstreet loan rejection  has been estimated to be in the range of 50 to 70%.

• Other challenges include high registration fee, high rental charges, information asymmetry etc. (Dun and Bradstreet, 2009)

• SMEs are vulnerable to low financial buffer, low margins and high operating cost.

• In UAE though some 90 percentage of the firms come under the SME segment where as SME also contribute one third of the GDP, the figure is still low in comparison to other developed and emerging economies where the contribution of the SME segment is around 60 percentage.


• SMEs will get a great boost by the abolishment of the minimum capital requirement of US $ 40, 000 (150,000 DH) for setting up of a limited liability company in UAE. (Dun & Bradstreet, 2009)

• Some of the SMEs are quite competent. Around 58% of them are expected to be operating internationally by 2013. (Emirates 24/7, 2011)

• SMEs at UAE are also expected to be benefited by the increase in international activities by the SMEs worldwide. It is expected that by 2013, number of SMEs worldwide, conducting international activities will increase from 29 % to 40 %. (Emirates 24/7, 2011)

• As a part of their economic growth plans, the Emirates of UAE are planning to diversify into various alternate industries other than the usual ones like petroleum, tourism trading etc such as petrochemicals, education, media, metal works, aerospace, telecommunications etc. Such industries will require a cluster of SMEs working around them and providing various types of support and enabling functions. This will surely boost the SME segment at UAE.

• The Emirates in UAE are coming up with new platforms to encourage and support SMEs. Mohammed Bin Rashid establishment for young business leader had been established in 2002, which specializes in providing financial assistance, training and inspiration to UAE nationals in starting their own business. Another such initiative is “SME 100” that awards top 100 SMEs in Dubai. The Khalifa fund provides funds and training for startups at Abu Dhabi. Such strong initiatives taken by the government will definitely help the SME segment in the long run.


• As a region Middle East is susceptible to political unrest and turmoil. Though UAE has one of the most popular, efficient and transparent govt. in practice and there is no threat of any impending political unrest in the gulf state, but since the MENA region as a whole is prone to political upheavals, it can affect the intra regional trade, considered very important for the SME segment.

• Compared to other emerging and developed economies, SMEs at UAE are still not matured enough.

• Growing globalization will pose new competitive challenge to the SMEs at UAE.

• SMEs at UAE will also be prone to threat from the bigger industries of UAE. The SMEs will find it hard to match them in terms of management and technical skills, quality and cost effectiveness which their bigger counterparts can produce on account of their scale.

As any other business entity, the SME segment at UAE has its own pros and cons. Some of the them are  structural while some are  conditional. Beyond the given pros and cons, one thing that can not be denied is that, SMEs definitely had a great role to play in the nearby future of the UAE and the govt. authorities in association with private sector  will not prefer keeping any stone unturned in further boosting and encouraging the sector.


1> Chris B, 2010, Supporting SME essential for UAE’s growth, Emirates 24/7, available at 2010-06-30-1.261304

2> Dun and Bradstreet, 2008, D&B business insight series: SME lending in UAE 2008, p-3, available at< >

3> Emirates 24/7, 2011, 58% UAE SME to go global in 2 years, available at 23-1.345825

4> Emirates 24/7, 2011, 58% UAE SME to go global in 2 years, available at 23-1.345825

5> Dun and Bradstreet, 2008, D&B business insight series: SME lending in UAE 2008, p-3, available at< >

6> Dun & Bradstreet, 2009, Challenges still remain despite removal of LLC capital, available at < >

7> Dun & Bradstreet, 2009, Challenges still remain despite removal of LLC capital, available at < >

8> Emirates 24/7, 2011, 58% UAE SME to go global in 2 years, available at 23-1.345825

9> Emirates 24/7, 2011, 58% UAE SME to go global in 2 years, available at 23-1.345825

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The three states of thinking: an insight from Bhagavad Gita

After writing a wide range of blogs on the Middle Eastern business scenarios, the author now attempts to write something right out of the realm of spirituality. This blog deals with the “Gradient of Thinking” and has been greatly inspired by “Inner war and Peace”, a book by Osho. “Inner War and Peace” is an insight from “The Bhagavad Gita”, wherein Osho has tried explaining the conversations between the reluctant Arjuna and his enlightened master Krishna. Through the conversation and the explanations that follow them, Osho has elucidated the root cause of pain and anguish of the Contemporary Man.

The blog elucidates on the three states of thinking: Thoughtlessness, Thinking state and No thought. The blog will give a general introduction to the given states along with an overview about how the characters of the Grand Epic Mahabharata fit into them.

Thoughtlessness: This is basically an animalistic way of thinking, where an individual is unable to judge between the right and the wrong. He is blinded by his burning desires and something that we refer to as “the darker side”- ego, arrogance, lust and vengeance. He loses his power to think. Instead of being thought-oriented, he is simply driven by his instincts. The actions taken by such individuals are generally dissimilar from the usual thought process, which is often implemented by normal individuals. A notable point here is that, though definitely a state reflecting animalistic thinking, thoughtlessness is a state of peace, since individuals do not go through the usual trauma of thinking and analyzing, it is devoid of customary anxieties and anguish which thinking brings. In the Mahabharata, the character of Duryodhana is a classic example of a thoughtless person driven by a deep desire to destroy the Pandavas.

Thinking state: This state lies between the state of animalistic thoughtlessness and the divine state of no thought. Moreover, this is not a state; it is rather a bridge between these two. From this state of thinking, man can either fall down into the chasm of thoughtlessness or he can move up the ladder of no thought. This is a state of anxiety and restlessness, because, from here man does not want to go back to the state of beastliness, but he is also unable to transcend  the given state and conquer the state of thoughtlessness. This state, which is somehow a state of dilemma, is very much rooted in a man’s ego. Though it may not be state of egomania, a thinking man’s state of mind revolves around his ego and he tries to decipher every situation or every act in relation to himself. The reluctant Arjuna before the battle is a perfect example of a thinking man.

No thought: On the gradient of thinking, this is the ultimate state, a state of pure consciousness. In this state the individual transcends the state of normal human thinking and goes beyond the chimera of self. Unlike the thoughtless state, in this state the absence of redundant thinking does not arise out of some ignorance or illusion, but out of the self consciousness and enlightenment. Such state is guided by spontaneous actions, without the prying of mind. Here, in this case, lack of thinking means complete freedom. Often our thinking is not free and is influenced by n number of factors such as habitual partiality, surrounding, upbringing, mood etc; but in the godly state of “No thought”, it is just an outcome of pure consciousness. Nothing else has an influence. Though every individual has potential to get into the shoe of no thought, it is very tough to attain. It requires a lot of deliberation, meditation and practice. Krishna, the incarnation of the super power himself is an symbol of “No thought”.

One important point to be noted over here is that that every day as individuals we pass through all the three stages of thinking. There are times when we are pure beast and instinct driven thoughtless creature, whereas at times we struggle with our individuality, with our angst, anxieties and frustrations and, there are times when life moves as effortlessly as pure consciousness.

Now in the following part the author will be placing various characters from the epic Mahabharata across the various parameters of thinking. For better understanding a graph had also been plotted below:-

Duryodhana: King Duryodhana is a perfect exemplar of a thoughtless individual. A symbol of sightless ambitions, Duryodhana was so obsessed with his hatred towards the Pandavas that he just wanted to obliterate them. Even when lord Krishna offered him the proposal of offering five villages to the Pandavas, instead of having a war, he rejected. In spite being a king, he hardly ever gave a thought to the large scale of imminent destruction, which the war could have brought. Hence he had been put at the lowest position of thoughtlessness.

Bheema: Bheema was the counterpart of Duryodhana. A man known for having strengths of many elephants, he was a pure brute force. Like the thoughtless Duryodhana, he had taken the oath of killing all the hundred Kauravas. For Bheema war was a passion, where he could have proved himself. The thoughtlessness of Duryodhana and Bheema gets reflected from their predilection for war. War always brings a large deal of bloodshed and destruction and ends into myriad individual tragedies. Only thoughtless individuals, devoid of the ability to comprehend such destructions, find them engaging.

Karna: The symbol of philanthropy, Karna was without doubt one of the greatest characters of Mahabharata. But the reason of placing him next to Duryodhana and Bheema was his vengeance and deep desire of taking revenge from Arjuna. Sometimes as individuals, we are so obsessed with our hatred towards that one single person, that our power of judgment is lost. The same happened with Karna. He wanted to prove his superiority over Arjuna at any price and in order to fulfill this, he didn’t think of the cosmic destruction that the war would incur.

Arjuna: The great archer Arjuna is perfect exemplar of a thinking man. A man filled with anxieties and anguish arising out of his attachments to the materialistic world. Arjuna’s anxieties before the war were quite natural, given the fact he was going to engage in a war against his own relatives. The war of Mahabharata seemed to be a part of the divine will and stopping it was beyond Arjuna’s capacity, but as an individual he had the freedom to resent, freedom to show his reluctance and this was the source of anxieties in him. Like the other three characters mentioned above, Arjuna was insulated from any kind of deep prejudice or blind thoughts and hence as a normal individual, the entire war seemed merciless, brutal and bloody. He was foreseeing the massive tragedies that would follow after the war.

Bheesma: Having divine origin, Bheesma was one of the characters close to the no thought state. Bheesma was also not in favor of the war, as it was known to him, that it will create a lot of bloodshed. Moreover since he was very attached to his family, seeing his own family members fighting with each other would have given him great trouble. But at the same time, he knew that the war was evident and cannot be stopped. Hence, he accepted it as a part of the divine will and agreed to fight the war on his conditions. He was somehow detached to the final outcome of the war and was just fighting it as a call of duty.

Krishna: Krishna is the perfect symbol of divine consciousness. In contrast to other individuals discussed above, Krishna had gone beyond the state of thinking and reflection. Being a person of pure divine essence, he existed as a completely detached and egoless individual, understood the futility of thinking and hence, believed simply in pure action without being involved in meaningless thinking and reflection. Krishna’s actions were never a reaction, In fact, in a no thought state, one never prefers reacting, because reaction arises out of attachment. When someone is hit hard at his point of attachment, he reacts back. But for someone like Krishna, having the understanding of the whole universe, reaction can never happen. Such people just prefer responding to different situation, without getting attached to them. For Krishna, the war of Mahabharata was not a war for fulfilling some inner desire, nor was he worried of the outcome. For him it was just a normal activity, where he was suppose to deliver his duties.

1> source of the image: