A famous Sanskrit shloka reads “गुरुर्ब्रह्मा ग्रुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ॥“
We live in a country where the “Guru”, who is the teacher is considered the shadow of Gods like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and by virtue of his knowledge he is worshiped and respected. Since the ancient times a lot of gurus have been famous for teaching their prodigies the lessons of life- be it Sandipani the guru of Krishna and Balram, Vishwamitra the guru of Rama and Lakshman or the ever famous guru Drona who taught the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
Of all the gurus, guru Drona, the one who trained the great Arjuna has a very interesting history to him. Gurgaon was recently renamed Gurugram for this reason only because it is believed that Gurgaon was the “Guru Ka gaon” the place where Guru Drona resided. It is thereby believed that this village was a gift to Guru Dronacharya by king Drupad. According to the legends it is the very place where the Kauravas and the Pandavas learnt their martial skills.
The epics though has different versions to it but the most relevant one says that Dronacharya and Drupad were childhood friends and grew up together. However Drupad grew to be a king and Dronacharya was left to live his life as a Brahmin. Drupad promised half his kingdom for his friendship. When Dronacharya went to seek his reward, Drupad refused to part with his wealth. It is thereby believed that a Panchayat was held to decide on this dispute and finally, Drupad gave Dronacharya 18 villages of which Gurgaon was the central village in that cluster. Dronacharaya was highly skillful and was a master in whatever work he does. He could not take the insult berated to him and thereby to teach Drupad a lesson trained the royal princes.
His legacy was very great but if we go on to look at his legacy what is left of it? Very little remains of Guru Dronacharya can be found in rural Gurgaon and no clans are found to trace their roots to the guru. What we find as a mark of the guru is a piece of land that was believed to be the pond where the guru bathe before starting his lessons along with a palace in ruins which the nearby people say belonged to Dronacharya. There are no signs of legacy that bespoke the legendary Guru, his teachings or anything about him.
There is no visual representation of the guru in the whole of the area. This seems a bit unrealistic because if a guru of such a stature resided in the village at least one statue should have done justice to the existence of the place. However any substantive notions of the Guru’s Gurgaon connect is considered to be at the site of the pond. This is the only temple remotely associated with Dronacharya. A priest is the lone occupant of the premises, and considered Guru Drona as the first warrior in the whole universe.
Economist Bibek Debroy opines that Gurgaon was a village and its history is always written from the perspective of towns and not any capital so the dearth of evidence.
Guru Drona was a legend, a military strategist- the most ambitious and a teacher par excellence. Though his hot temper for those who disregarded him led to his downfall. But he certainly is hailed as the best teachers of his times and by renaming Gurgaon as “Gurugram” we will surely keep him alive in our memories.