For someone like me who has done a lot of trekking in sahyadris, Western Ghats, forts are not new. I have been to numerous forts in Maharashtra. However, Daulatabad fort, about 16 kms. from Aurangabad is quite unique.
This 14th century fort is designed to be an impregnable fortress. It has a total of seven layers of defences before one can reach the top of the fort. When we were going through the fort and listening to the guide describe the defences of the fort, we were convinced that the people who designed the fort were more paranoid than Andy Grove, Ex. chairman and CEO of Intel and the author of Only the Paranoid Survive.
Initially, there are three walls around the central hill. After these walls is a deep moat. The moat used to be filled with water and infested with crocodiles. Just before the moat, there is a massive cannon that can fire at a target upto 6 km away. Again, the engineering of the cannon is such that it cannot be turned towards the fort.
Once you cross the moat, you enter a labyrinth, a complex system of dark tunnels. Inside these dark tunnels, sat the sentinels to defend the fort. Some of the arrangements in the maze are just too gruesome to imagine.So there are places where the upcoming enemy would be confronted with hot ambers, place where sharp blades will impinge the forward soldiers and other place where boiling oil would be poured on the enemy. Beyond this is a steep exposed hill that one needs to climb.
The fort defences are so strong that it was never won in battle. But that doesn’t mean it was never lost to enemy. Only way an enemy could conquer the fort was thru treachery. It’s the same story throughout the history. Some disgruntled soul would join hands with the enemy for some selfish gains and surrender the fort. That’s exactly how Daulatabad changed hands when it did. So it was not the defences that failed, but the people who manned the defences.
There is an important lesson here for the modern organization. You may be a market leader, may have great products and very strong entry barriers. However, if your team is not trustworthy, is disgruntled, unhappy, in no time, you would lose all of it. What do you think?