“People’s heart and mind posture” – the main viewpoint of Tran Dynasty in the cause of protecting national independence
In the first half of the 13th Century, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country were severely threatened by the Yuan’s invasion.
Facing the risk of being invaded, Kings and troops of Tran dynasty determined to take up arms. When asked by the King: “Should we capitulate or fight ?”, Tran Thu Do, one of the key figures of Tran dynasty, replied: “ Your Majesty, please do not be worried as long as I am not beheaded.” When 50 thousand enemy troops invaded our country the second time in 1285, Tran Quoc Tuan, the commander in chief of the Tran’s Army talked to the King decisively: “ If you surrender the enemy, behead me first”. When captured by the enemy and lured to surrender, Tran Binh Trong, one of the major generals of Tran dynasty replied mightily to the enemy: “I would rather be a ghost in the South than the King in the North.” The determination to fight of the Tran dynasty has stimulated the whole nation’s fighting morale.
Dien Hong Conference was a success story of promoting the entire people’s mind, manifesting the viewpoint of “People’s heart and mind posture” that Tran dynasty had managed to nurture since the early days of its foundation and developed it to its utmost during the three resistance wars against the Mongols. The shouts “fight!” of the elderly in the conference represented the whole nation’s voice. The historic conference showed the iron will of the whole nation against the invaders.
In this context, the Mongol troops had to deal with not only Tran Army but also the whole Dai Viet people. When entered our country, the enemy was surprised to see instructions hung everywhere noting that: All districts and people must engage the enemy when they come. If unable to fight, you are allowed to hide in forests but must not surrender. With passionate patriotism, our people have thoroughly implemented the dynasty’s command. Accordingly, forces involved in the wars included not only royal troop and those of princelings and the nobility but also troops of villages and even of the ethnic minorities.
The land – sliding victory of Tran dynasty as to defeat the Mongol invaders three times, firmly protecting the national independence was attributed to many reasons, including the viewpoint of “People’s heart and mind posture”. This was not only promoted in the war time but also nurtured in peace time and manifested in the following contents:
First, Tran Kings were very familiar and close to their people. They used to come to remote areas to talk about Buddhism teachings and seek ways to mitigate people’s poverty and sufferings. Thereby, they always grasped people’s wish and aspiration and the wrongdoings of local mandarins and had opportune measures to deal with the situations. When the country hit natural disasters such as flood or drought, Tran Kings issued a number of favourable policies to relieve people’s sufferings and help them overcome the situation. This helped strengthen people’s belief and consensus and build good relations among social strata.
Second, Tran Kings paid attention to people’s lives. People of Dai Viet at that time lived mainly on agricultural production. Tran Kings attached importance to agriculture encouragement to improve people’s lives. Being aware that water is the most important factor to agriculture, Tran Kings paid special attention to irrigation. They built channels, dams, dykes all across the country to provide water for cultivation and prevent floods. Thanks to the irrigation system, economy prospered under Tran dynasty, hence capable of supporting for the three wars. This economic prosperity was also attributed to the open mechanism of land ownership and a change in the relation of production. Accordingly, refugees and slaves who had owned no land were able to acquire some from the state and started production on their own land. Slaves had more freedom. They were granted with ownership of the lands they had by acquisition or reclamation.
Third, protecting people’s legitimate interests. Under Tran dynasty, by – law documents were issued with open and satisfactory articles showing the Kings’ attention to people’s lives. The Kings, for many times, ordered to reduce taxes, called for reclamation and residence development, etc. There were times that the dynasty bought rice and provided for needy people for free to save them from hunger. Rich people were also encouraged to do that. In response, they were promoted with titles and administrative positions. In essence, these were “people’s suffering relief” activities to ensure that they could lead a well – fed, peaceful and happy life.
In conclusion, with the synchronous implementation of the above solutions, Tran dynasty was succeeded in building a strong political regime in which rule by law was attached with importance; talented people were used; the economy was developed on the basis of private land ownership mechanism; independent religion was developed as the national ideology; people’s suffering relief was paid special attention to as ground for the viewpoint of “people’s heart and mind posture” which was regarded as the prime policy for national defence.